After praying the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled how tomorrow, Tuesday, he begins his apostolic trip to Turkey where, between November 28 and December 1, he will visit Ankara, Ephesus and Istanbul.
"From this moment," he said, "I would like to send my cordial greetings to the dear Turkish people, so rich in history and culture. To that people, and to their representatives, I extend sentiments of respect and sincere friendship."
Benedict XVI also mentioned the "deep emotion" he felt at having the opportunity to meet the country's "small Catholic community, which is ever present in my heart, and to unite myself fraternally with the Orthodox Church for the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle," on November 30.
"I trustingly follow the footsteps of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II, and I invoke the celestial protection of Blessed John XXIII who for ten years was apostolic delegate in Turkey and nourished great affection and respect for that country."
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by asking everyone to accompany him "with prayer, that this pilgrimage may bring the fruits that God desires."
Pope Benedict then went on to recall World AIDS Day which falls on December 1. "May this circumstance," he said, "favor greater responsibility in the treatment of the illness, and a commitment to prevent all discrimination against those afflicted by it. Invoking the comfort of the Lord upon the sick and the families, I encourage the many initiatives the Church operates in this field."