Mayor cooks up polenta and venison for papal entourage

VATICAN CITY — The papal spokesman’s update on Pope Benedict today contained very little information about the pope himself. Basically, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said the pope took an evening walk yesterday despite the rainy weather.

However, the e-mail dispatched from Les Combes, where the pope has been vacationing since July 13, did say that the mayor of Introd — which includes Les Combes — joined members of the papal entourage for dinner last night. The pope’s physicians, security agents and other aides are staying in a guesthouse next to the pope’s chalet.

Father Lombardi said the mayor “provided an excellent polenta with venison” from the small European roe deer, “which he cooked himself with great skill.”


Pope Benedict stands outside his vacation chalet in Les Combes. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

This morning, the spokesman said, the pope is putting the final touches on the homily he will give this evening when he celebrates vespers with priests, religious and laypeople in the cathedral of Aosta.

In addition, he said, the papal vacation compound is a beehive of activity as workers set up benches and barriers in preparation for the arrival of an estimated 5,000 people Sunday for the recitation of the Angelus.

Today’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, contains an interview with Father Aldo Armellin, who the newspaper describes as the contact between the Diocese of Aosta and the papal party.

The priest said there are a lot of people “who try to get close to the pope” while he’s on vacation. Some send notes, some send small gifts and others “want to show their affection and make him feel part of the family by welcoming him with a homemade dessert typical to the region.”

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