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Pope Benedict XVI’s Historic Visit to Nemi
On Monday, July 9, 2012, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI made a historic visit to the Ad Gentes Center at Nemi, where the Divine Word Missionaries were holding their 17th General Chapter. The Pope came from his summer residence at nearby Castel Gondolfo. The Pope was welcomed on his arrival by the recently elected Superior General, Fr. Heinz Kulüke, the outgoing Superior General, Fr. Antonio Pernia and the Procurator General, Fr. Giancarlo Girardi.
The Pope was led to the Chapel of the center where 150 participants of the General Chapter and members of the Roman Communities of the SVD welcomed him with a long and cheerful applause. The Holy Father spent a few minutes in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Then, Superior General, Fr. Antonio Pernia, welcomed the Pope to the Ad Gentes Center and recalled the distinct connection between the center and the second Vatican Council. It was at the Ad Gentes Center that the draft of the document on the Church’s mission to the world “Ad Gentes” was prepared by the commission headed by the then SVD Superior General, Fr. Johannes Schütte. The Pope was a “peritus” (= expert) of that commission as a young theologian.
The Holy Father was given a statue of Mother Mary (brought from Indonesia) by the capitulars from Jawa, Fr. Felix Sunartha Kadek and Fr. Antonius Eko Yuliantoro. Fr. Pernia offered the ‘Chapter Kit’ to the Holy Father. Fr. Kulüke thanked the Holy Father for his gracious visit to the center. (Excerpts of the News Release from Nemi through Fr. Sebastian Mattappallil, SVD)