Vatican Secretary of State in Chile


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(06 Apr 10 - RV) The Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone begins a 9-day trip to Chile today.

Cardinal Bertone is visiting the country in order to survey the damage resulting from the powerful earthquake that struck the country this past February 27th, and to deliver a gift from Pope Benedict XVI to the people of Chile: a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in honour of the 200th anniversary of Chile's independence.

Pope Benedict XVI presented the wooden statue of Chile's Patroness to a delegation of Chilean political and religious leaders, including Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago, at the March 24th General Audience in Rome.

"To have this benediction from the Holy Father as well as the image as a gift from the Holy See to the people of Chile, is a sort of relief to all those Chileans who have suffered because of the earthquake"

The Chilean ambassador to the Vatican, Pablo Cabrera, told us the visit of Cardinal Bertone and the gift of Pope Benedict are concrete expressions of much-needed spiritual support for the Chilean people:

"I am sure that spiritual support is necessary in this moment because it encourages a spirit of unity that our republic needs in the year 2010, as we commemorate 200 years of independence".

Cardinal Bertone is scheduled to present the statue during Mass on Sunday, April 11th.