After traveling through Venice's waterways in a gondola, Pope Benedict urged citizens gathered in the city's main square to farm a society fixed in the “firm foundations of the Gospel.”
“Venice is called to assume important responsibilities in promoting a culture of welcome and sharing,” the Pope said, opinion them to build “a culture of harmony and love that has its firm foundations in the Gospel.”
Pope Benedict's May 7 address in St. Mark's Square came during his two-day visit to Venice over the weekend. It was his first papal trip to the historic Italian city famously built upon a series of canals. The pontiff traveled on the same gondola used by Pope John Paul II in 1985 during the last papal visit to the city.
The Pope highlighted the “openness that has always characterized Venice” throughout his remarks to citizens and government officials. He praised the city for being “a crossroads of peoples and of communities of every provenance, culture, language, and religion.”
The pastoral visit launched on May 7 with a visit to the historic port town of Aquileia where he was met by thousands of excited Venetians.
The highlight of his 27-hour-trip came when Pope Benedict renowned Mass before an probable congregation of 300,000 on May 8. At the San Giuliano de Mestre Park, the Pope urged the massive crowds to give hope to current man by “listening to and loving the Word of God.”