The Holy Father, as usual, spent the month of September at his Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, from where he returned to the Vatican on the 30th. The first half of the month was marked by two important events: on Sunday 7th , Benedict XVI made a Pastoral Visit to Cagliari, in Sardinia, where he presided an open air Mass in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, on the occasion of the centenary of the proclamation of Our Lady as “Great Patron Saint of Sardinia ”; and from 12 to 15 September a visit to France on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes. The Holy Father spent the first day in Paris where he had an important meeting with the Jewish community there and gave an address at the Institut de France. In the afternoon of the 13th the Holy Father went to Lourdes where he followed the “Jubilee Path”, along the principal places of the life of Saint Bernadette, and also had a meeting with the French Bishops' Conference.
During the month of September the Holy Father received four groups of South American Bishops on ad limina visit, respectively the Bishops of Nicaragua, Paraguay, Panama and Uruguay.
During the month the Supreme Pontiff granted the following audiences: 18th , participants at the Pave the Way Foundation Symposium; 20th , participants at a World Meeting of Benedictine Abbots; on the same day, recently appointed Bishops attending a course promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; 22nd to newly appointed Bishops attending a similar meeting promoted by the Congregations for Bishops and for the Oriental Churches; 25th participants at a Meeting organised by the Italian Bishops Conference' Centro Studi per la Scuola Cattolica (CSSC), marking the 10th anniversary of its establishment; the following day he received members of the Retrouvaille Movement; on 27th , participants at a meeting promoted by the Centro Turistico Giovanile (CTG) and the Ufficio Internazionale del Turismo Sociale (BITS). Before returning to the Vatican he received in audience the religious and civil community of Castel Gandolfo and the staff of the Papal Residence.
During his general audiences the Holy Father continued his catechesis on Saint Paul, on the occasion of the Year of St Paul. On the 15th on the Pope's behalf Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state, sent an important Message for the opening of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation. Lastly we mention the appeal launched by the Holy Father on Sunday 7 September in aid of the people of Haiti, victims of a serious hurricane.