Pope John Paul II left his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo on Friday, pausing to thank the local residents for their hospitality before returning to the Vatican.
    "This year, my stay among you was unfortunately shorter than in previous years," the Holy Father observed in a short audience with the mayor and 20 councillors of the town. "The Jubilee events did not allow me to stay until September, as in earlier years."
    Pope John Paul went on to say that, despite the brevity of his stay, the "fresher climate and atmosphere far from the streets of Rome" had been a pleasant and relaxing change. "I hope the good effects of my stay will remain with me in the coming months," he added.
    The Pope also thanked the townspeople for welcoming the hundreds of young pilgrims who had made the extra trip from Rome during and after the World Youth Day celebration in order to see him at his summer residence.
4 Sep 00

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