Following this yesterday's meeting with priests and permanent deacons in the cathedral of Freising, the Pope travelled by car to Munich's Franz Joseph Strauss international airport, where he departed by plane to Rome.
In his farewell address prior to departure, the Holy Father explained how during his time in Germany, "I was able to see how many people in Bavaria still today are endeavoring to journey in communion with their bishops along the paths of God and, in today's secularized world, to testify to their faith."
He expressed his recognition for the "the tireless efforts of the organizers," and for everyone's "attention and care which touched me deeply. .... To all of you I offer heartfelt thanks and the assurance of a special remembrance in my prayers.
"I came to Germany," he added, "to bring once more to my fellow citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, Who became man for the salvation of the world. I am convinced, in faith, that in Christ, in His Word, we find the way not only to eternal happiness, but also to the building of a humane future even now, here on earth."
Benedict XVI then went on to recall that today, September 14, marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical 'Laborem Exercens,' in which the "great Pope John Paul II called work 'a fundamental dimension of man's existence on earth,' and insisted that 'the primary basis of the value of work is man himself.' Work, he observed, is therefore 'something good for man,' because with it 'man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but also achieves fulfillment as a human being, and, in a certain sense, becomes more human'."
Pope Benedict continued: "On the basis of this profound intuition, Pope John Paul offered in his Encyclical some guidelines which are still helpful today. That text was not lacking in prophetic value, and I would like to recommend it to the people of my native land. I am certain that its concrete application would prove very beneficial in Germany's present situation."
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by entrusting "the present and future of Bavaria and of Germany to the intercession of all those saints who lived in German territory, faithfully serving Christ and experiencing in their lives the truth expressed in the words which have been like a leitmotif during the various parts of my visit: 'Those who believe are never alone'."
The Pope's plane took off at 1 p.m. and landed at Rome's Ciampino airport at 2.30 p.m. From there he travelled by car to his summer residence at Castelgandolfo.