Benedict XVI spent first full day in Australia resting, working on speeches.
SYDNEY (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI spent his first full day in Australia resting, going for walks and putting the finishing touches on the speeches he will make to young people gathered in the city for World Youth Day.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, said the Pope woke early on July 14 and celebrated Mass for about a dozen staff members at the Opus Dei-run Kenthurst Study Centre northwest of Sydney. The Pope was staying at the centre until the evening of July 16, resting after a 21-hour flight from Rome.
“For those who have raised concerns about his health, there is nothing to be worried about,” Father Lombardi said after some newspapers said Pope Benedict appeared extremely tired upon his arrival on July 13 in Sydney.
After the morning Mass and a walk around Kenthurst, the Pope met with Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell and with Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, coordinator of World Youth Day, the Jesuit said.
He said the Pope’s day was “serene and tranquil” with four separate walks in the gardens, including a long afternoon walk to a pond with his personal secretary, Mgr. Georg Ganswein.
In the early evening, seven musicians arrived to treat the Pope to an hourlong concert of classical music with pieces by Schumann, Mozart and Schubert.
Responding to questions on July 14, Father Lombardi said that, at least for now, no plans had been made for Pope Benedict to meet with Australian victims of clerical sex abuse, although the Pope told reporters on July 12 he intended to speak about the abuse crisis and to apologise to victims during his stay in Sydney.