Take a break, write an encyclical, Pope suggests

Preparing to leave for his annual holiday, Pope Benedict described the vacation as a "gift of God" advising everyone to take a break to "fortify their physical and spiritual energies" and get back in touch with nature - or even write an encyclical.

Catholic News Service reports that the pope made the suggestions to a St Peter's square crowd Sunday before leaving for a three-week holiday at a church-owned villa in Lorenzago di Cadore, a small Alpine town in northeastern Italy.

"The mountain air will do me good, and I can dedicate myself more freely to reflection and prayer," the pope told the crowd.

"I hope everyone - especially those who feel a greater need - can take a bit of vacation to fortify their physical and spiritual energies and recover a healthy contact with nature," he said.

Pope Benedict said mountain vacations have a special meaning to him because a mountain "evokes the ascent of one's spirit" toward God, which, "unfortunately, daily life tends to drag down."

Greeting Polish pilgrims, the pope also offered a special prayer for farmers and others "who cannot leave their work."

He said he hoped they would be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and would find some time to rest.

The pope left the Vatican yesterday. He traveled by airplane from Rome's Ciampino airport to Treviso, then by helicopter to Lorenzago di Cadore.

Arriving in Lorenzago di Cadore, reporters asked the pope when he expects to publish the second part of his book on Jesus. The first volume of "Jesus of Nazareth" was released in the spring and covered the period from Jesus' baptism to his transfiguration.

"It is in the hands of God," said the pope, referring to the second volume covering Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. "I hope to write some pages here."

Then reporters asked if the pope would use his vacation to write a new encyclical.

"Yes, also," he responded.

"So there is a new encyclical?" a reporter asked.

"Yes, eventually," the pope said without providing further details.

Pope prays people might find time to rest, pray, enjoy the outdoors (Catholic News Service, 9/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Lorenzago di Cadore website (Italian)

Pope hails benefits of holidays (CathNews, 18/7/05)

10 Jul 2007