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Dear Faithful of Genoa,
Peace and an Apostolic Blessing!

I write to you on the occasion on which the appointment of your Archbishop as the new Secretary of State has been made public.

In these past three years, during which he has led the Church in Genoa, you have learned to appreciate the gifts and qualities that make him a faithful Pastor, especially capable of combining pastoral care and doctrinal wisdom.

It is precisely these characteristics, together with the mutual understanding and trust we developed in the years of our common service at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that have induced me to choose him for this lofty and delicate task at the service of the universal Church at the Holy See.

I know that I have asked a great sacrifice of Cardinal Bertone; I know that the sacrifice of the faithful entrusted to his care in Genoa is no less, but I am certain that his affection and his prayers for your Community will be brought ad Petri sedem.

The history of your Diocese shows a generous fidelity to the Vicar of Christ, to which I appeal, also by virtue of the name I chose for my own Petrine ministry:  the name of the last Genoese Pope, so devoted to Our Lady della Guardia. I entrust everyone to her at this moment of transition, delicate but full of grace, because always "in everything God works for good with those who love him" (Rom 8: 28).

Precisely by virtue of your faithful and obedient generosity to the Holy See, I am preparing to provide as soon as possible for the appointment of the new successor to the See of St Syrus.

I ask you to join me in praying to the Spirit so that he will help us in this discernment and, from this moment, I assure you of my remembrance and my Apostolic Blessing in prayer for all the facets of the Church in Genoa:  for the Pastors, the consecrated persons, the families, the young people and the sick.

From the Vatican,
22 June 2006



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