Pope looking forward to German homecoming

6th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 September 2006, VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI surprised thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square Wednesday by donning an unconventional broad-brimmed red hat before telling them he was looking forward to his imminent visit to his homeland of Bavaria. The pope arrived in Rome's famous piazza for his traditional mid-week general audience aboard his Popemobile and drew smiles among the crowd by wearing a bright red "saturno" - named after the ringed planet Saturn - similar to one worn by one

6 September 2006

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI surprised thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square Wednesday by donning an unconventional broad-brimmed red hat before telling them he was looking forward to his imminent visit to his homeland of Bavaria.

The pope arrived in Rome's famous piazza for his traditional mid-week general audience aboard his Popemobile and drew smiles among the crowd by wearing a bright red "saturno" - named after the ringed planet Saturn - similar to one worn by one of his predecessors, Pope John XXIII, who reigned between 1958 to 1963.

This is not the first time that the German-born pontiff has surprised the faithful by wearing unusual hats. Last December, for instance, he wore a Christmasy red velvet cap with a white fur trim. The so-called "camauro" was often worn by popes during mediaeval times.

Benedict will be heading for Munich on Saturday for a six-day trip to the German region that will also see him visit Marktl-am-Inn, the small Bavarian town where he was born 79 years ago.

The trip will be the fourth abroad of his pontificate, his second to Germany since his April 2005 election.

Addressing some 25,000 faithful, the pope said: "I entrust to your prayers the apostolic voyage that I will make to Germany as from next Saturday.

"I thank God for offering me the opportunity to go to Bavaria, my land of origin, for the first time since my election as Bishop of Rome," he said.

The pope is currently staying in his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, and plans to return to the Vatican on October 3.

DPA

Subject: German news

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