On the afternoon of Friday, 14 May 2010, before his flight back to
Rome, the Holy Father gave his parting words at the International
Airport in Porto. The Pope expressed the hope that his visit might be
"an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour."
Dear Brother Bishops,
At the conclusion of my visit, my heart is filled with vivid memories of
a great many moments from my pilgrimage to Portugal. I shall long
remember the heartfelt and affectionate welcome that you accorded me,
the warmth and spontaneity with which bonds of communion were
established with the groups that I was able to encounter, the hard work
that went into the preparation and realization of the pastoral programme.
As I take my leave, I express sincere gratitude to all of you: to the
President of the Republic, who has honoured me with his presence since
my arrival here, to my brother bishops with whom I have renewed our
profound union in the service of Christís Kingdom, to the Government and
to all the civil and military authorities who have done their utmost
with visible dedication throughout the entire journey. I offer you every
good wish! The communications media have enabled me to reach out to many
people who were unable to see me in person. To them too I am most
To all the Portuguese, whether Catholic or not, to the men and women who
live here, whether they were born here or elsewhere, I extend my
greetings at this moment of leave-taking. May you live in increasing
harmony with one another, a pre-requisite for genuine cohesion and the
only way to address the challenges before you with shared
responsibility. May this glorious nation continue to manifest greatness
of spirit, a profound sense of God and an openness to solidarity,
governed by principles and values imbued with Christian humanism. In
Fatima I prayed for the whole world, asking that the future may see an
increase in fraternity and solidarity, greater mutual respect and
renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.
It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the
Portuguese ecclesial community. I was able to see the enthusiasm of the
children and young people, the faithfulness of the priests, deacons and
religious, the pastoral dedication of the bishops, the desire to search
for truth and evident beauty in the world of culture, the
resourcefulness of the social pastoral workers, the vibrancy of faith
among the lay faithful in the dioceses that I visited. I hope that my
visit may become an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour.
May the Gospel be accepted in its entirety and witnessed with passion by
every disciple of Christ, so that it may show itself to be a leaven of
authentic renewal for the whole of society!
I impart my Apostolic Blessing to Portugal and to all its sons and
daughters, bringing hope, peace and courage, which I implore from God
through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom you pray with
such trust and firm love. Let us continue to walk in hope! Good-bye!
[Vatican Press Office; Original text: Portuguese]