Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI celebrated his 93rd birthday Thursday at his Vatican residence during Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.
The retired pope, who lives in the Mater Ecclesia monastery on Vatican grounds, did not have any visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein.
Ganswein told Vatican News April 16 that Benedict had received many emails, letters, and phone calls wishing him a happy birthday, including from his older brother Georg Ratzinger.
Benedict XVI’s quiet birthday began with Mass in the monastery chapel, and included prayer and reading, Ganswein said. Benedict also listened to some traditional songs from his homeland of Bavaria.
Ganswein said the pope emeritus is keeping informed on the coronavirus pandemic and prays daily for the sick and suffering.
“He was also particularly struck by the many priests, doctors, and nurses who have died, especially in north Italy, in carrying out their service to coronavirus patients,” the secretary said.
He added that Benedict XVI “participates in this sorrow” and follows it “with concern,” but “does not let himself be robbed of hope.” - CNA via CBCP News
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