Discretion is Key for Community Hosting Pope in Vacation


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(14 Jul 09 - RV) Discretion it seems, is the keyword for the community of Les Combes, home to the Salesian summer retreat centre that also includes the chalet where Pope Benedict XVI is spending his summer vacation this year.

The tiny Alpine community has been invaded by a host of journalists from over 40 national and international media organisations, but as the bishop of Aosta, Giuseppe Anfossi points out the people of Les Combes have a long history in protecting the privacy of their most cherished guest:

"It 's very simple: our people are a people who are not given to anxiously rushing about, prying or disturbing others. I think the basic attitude here is this: if the Pope likes to come here - and in some ways he chooses here because he knows that the conditions here favour rest - so be it. For my part, I have asked that there be a large participation at the Angelus and then in other times a great respect for him and his privacy. I believe, it is essential not to take advantage of his presence. The Spiritual and mystical aspect of this vacation must prevail. Moreover the people here for some 13 times had the privilege of having a Roman Pontiff in residence".

Discretion it seems is also the command of the day for the over 300 men and women who day and night hold vigil over the Pope during his period of rest, high in the Alpine forests.

Salvatore Mazza, correspondent for ‘Avvenire' the Italian Bishops Conference weekly magazine:

"Security is always very intense but also very discreet in the sense that from the outside you cannot see anything. We know that there are around 300 people between the police, forest guards and other bodies. But I repeat, it is very discreet, almost invisible from the outside and this is a way to protect the privacy of the Pope without being invasive or intrusive".

The President of the Province of Turin, Antonio Saitta, meanwhile is preparing to welcome the Pope next Sunday to Romano Cavanese the birth place of Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, where the Holy Father will pray the midday Angelus prayer with the faithful at the end of mass celebrated in the town square.

In the meantime Pope Benedict's Days are being spent in rest and prayer and maybe even with some lighter interludes, given that a brand new grand piano has been installed in the wooden chalet high in the Alps for the Pope who loves music.