Benedict XVI and Puglia, a profound relationship in the sign of dialogue

Pope Benedict XVI had a deep relationship with Puglia, a region to which he made two pastoral visits. He welcomed all the visiting bishops of the local Churches ad liminaknowing in detail the religious and civil situation, and received with keen interest in the Vatican a warm visit from the people of Puglia.

By showing that they want to insert themselves with a fraternal and missionary spirit in the situation of socio-cultural change in the communities.

Proposing to “rediscover the beauty of Sunday”. Wishing the Italian Church intense fervor and renewed impetus.

Paying keen attention to pastoral paths: indeed, he supported their choices and pointed out paths of spirituality, on the basis of local religiosity and the goals proposed to the entire national ecclesial community.

«As I look forward to going to Bari next Sunday for the Eucharistic celebration, I am already united in this important ecclesial event. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary together, so that days of such intense devotion and adoration to Jesus in the Eucharist may ignite a renewed ardor of faith, hope and charity in the Italian Church», he said on 22 May 2005 in St. Peter’s Square.

67,000 pilgrims and 1,250 concelebrants, including twelve cardinals, attended the mass he presided over in the Apulian capital on the occasion of the regional Eucharistic Congress. The bishops prepared their communities by even writing a Letter: Without Sunday we cannot live.

«Felice Bari», was the ancient expression revived by the Pope with reference to the presence of the relics of St. Nicholas, testimony of the vocation of the Eastern and Western Churches to walk fraternally together.

The Pope was welcomed by Archbishop Francesco Cacucci in the city which houses the relics of Santo di Mira, venerated by Catholics and Orthodox.

With gentleness and firm conviction, he proposed the resumption of the ecumenical journey, to increase communion between the Churches, urging them to make prophetic choices.

Two years later, it was the bishops of the Puglia ecclesiastical region, made up of 19 dioceses, who officially went to the Pope, on a visit ad limina convening in the Vatican from 13 to 16 March 2007 with their president Msgr. Cosmo Francesco Ruppi and reporting on the pastoral situation and on some social problems, such as youth and intellectual unemployment.

Twenty thousand faithful also took part, who, in the audience, stood out for their intense and choral expressions of very warm affection, so much so that Pope Benedict commented visibly pleased: «Let’s see the vivacity of the Churches of Puglia»… Particularly suggestive was the visit to S. Maria di Leuca and in Brindisi and on 14 and 15 June 2014.

It was the bishop Msgr. Vito De Grisantis to explicitly invite the Pope to venerate the Virgin Mary de finibus terrae in the Sanctuary located in the extreme eastern part of Italy, in order to support the vocation of Puglia and to promote collaboration and solidarity between the populations bordering the Mediterranean .

Just as the archbishop of Brindisi, mgr. Rocco Talucci, engaged in the CEI in the field of evangelization of peoples and cooperation between the Churches, to ask Pope Benedict to visit Brindisi to encourage the journey of young people and families between faith and modernity.

So many memories of a fruitful bond… Pope Benedict’s testimony and teaching continue to prove to be truly meaningful.

Benedict XVI and Puglia, a profound relationship in the sign of dialogue