Today, nine-one bishops from missionary countries throughout the world boarded two large buses and headed for the hills! Literally. Castel Gandolfo is the summer residence of the Holy Father. The pictures show some of the beautiful private gardens of the pope located in the mountains outside Rome, overlooking Lake Albano.
Even on holiday, the Holy Father is keeping a very busy schedule. He met with the bishops who are in Rome for the Seminar for New Bishops. Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples gave a short address, and then the Pope, speaking in Italian greeted the new bishops and encouraged us in the ministry entrusted to us by His Holiness.
After this, the Holy Father greeted each bishop individually with the gentleness and joy of a true father. We should all pray daily for God's blessing on Pope Benedict XVI.a
Ninety-one bishops, all dressed in our black cassocks, walking through the small town of Castel Gandolfo became somewhat of a tourist attraction in itself. Camera shutters were clicking everywhere.
Before returning to Rome, the buses stopped at a missionary center for training catechists. In the great dining room there, the bishops were treated to a delicious Italian meal.
When we returned to Saint Paul's College, Cardinal Ouellet, the Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops was waiting for us. He presented a paper entitled: The Pastoral Governance of the Bishop. We have heard that the three major responsibilities of bishops are: to teach, to sanctify and to govern (or shepherd). Cardinal Ouellet's presentation dealt with the third of these three important tasks of the bishop.
Ninety-one bishops will sleep very well tonight, after a very busy and blessed day.