On Sunday, 13 May 2007, in the Farewell Ceremony at the International Airport of São Paulo/Guarulhos, the Holy Father expressed to the Vice-President his gratitude for “an intense and unforgettable stay in your country.”
Mr Vice President,
As I take leave of this blessed land of Brazil, a hymn of gratitude to the Most High rises up in my soul. He has granted me an intense and unforgettable stay in your country, with my gaze fixed on the Senhora Aparecida who, from her shrine, has presided over the beginnings of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The signs of enthusiasm and the deep piety of this people of the Land of the Holy Cross will remain for ever impressed in my memory. Together with so many pilgrims from the length and breadth of the Continent of Hope, they have given whole-hearted proof of their faith in Christ and their love for the Successor of Peter. I pray that the Lord will assist religious and civil leaders to give renewed impulse to the initiatives that are awaited by all for the common good of the great Latin American family.
With deep gratitude, I extend my farewell greetings to His Excellency, the President of the Republic, to the Government of this Nation and of the State of Sno Paulo, as well as to the other Brazilian Authorities who have offered me so many gestures of courtesy during these days.
I am also grateful to the consular Authorities whose diligent work facilitated in no small measure the participation of the different Nations in these days of reflection, prayer and commitment for the common good of all taking part in this great event.
With particular fraternal esteem and profound gratitude, I greet the Members of the College of Cardinals present, and my brothers in the Episcopate, as well as the priests, deacons, religious men and women and the organizers of the Conference. You have all contributed to the splendour of these days, filling those taking part with joy and hope — gaudium et spes! — for the Christian family and for its mission in society.
Be assured: I carry you all with me in my heart, and from the depths of my heart I impart a blessing to you, which I extend to all the peoples of Latin America and the world.
Thank you very much!
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