Pope Francis visits Benedict on his 95th birthday: Friendly conversation and prayer

This afternoon, the Pope has been at the “Mother Church” monastery, Ratzinger’s residence since his resignation in 2013, to personally wish him a Happy Easter, on the eve of Trinity Feast and the Pope emeritus 95th birthday.

Salvatore Sernozio – Vatican City

As is already the case every Easter and Christmas, this year Francis also wanted to visit Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to personally wish him well for the Easter celebrations. On the eve of the Triduum and three days before the ninety-fifth birthday of the Pontiff Emeritus, on April 16, this afternoon Jorge Mario Bergoglio went to the residence of the Mater Ecclesia, the monastery in the heart of the Vatican Gardens where Joseph Ratzinger has lived since May. 2013, three months after his resignation from the Petrine ministry, he was spending his days among prayer, music and reading, aided by his personal secretary, Monsignor Georges Ganswin, and a group of Memoris Domini. “After a short and affectionate conversation, and after praying together, Pope Francis returned to Casa Santa Marta,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican’s press office.

First hug at Castel Gandolfo

From the first moments of his pontificate, a few days after the concave meeting elected by the 266th Caliph of Peter, Francis began the “tradition” of meeting his immediate predecessor, beginning with the historic first visit of the newly elected pope by helicopter. Gandolfo resided, where Benedict stayed for a few weeks before moving to the Vatican.

On the eve of the holidays or on the occasion of sympathy with the new cardinals, Francis never wanted to stop his gesture of closeness and decency with the man whom he described in an on-flight interview as “the wise grandfather of the house” and that at evangelism on June 29, 2021, the seventieth anniversary of Ratzinger’s ordination For the priesthood, he was called ‘Father’ and ‘Brother’.

“Happy Easter” with the faithful in San Pedro

Also in 2017, on April 13, Pope Francis went to Mater Ecclesiae for a visit of a festive double character: Easter and the 90th anniversary of the Pope Emeritus. On March 28, 2018, the Pope came back again on the eve of Easter Triumph, and spent half an hour in conversation with Benedict in the small living room of the monastery. Then, in the following general audience on April 4, he asked the faithful assembled in St. Peter’s Square to dedicate an idea to his predecessor all: “Pope Benedict follows us on TV. We wish him all a happy Easter.” And loud applause.

Wishes for Easter and Christmas

On April 15, 2019, on the eve of Ratzinger’s birthday, Francis went to visit him in the afternoon and “the meeting – as the Vatican press office explained at the time – was also an occasion for the Pope to offer, with special interest, wishes of Merry Christmas to the honorary Pope who will turn 92 tomorrow” .

The restrictions imposed by the Covid epidemic prevented a new meeting of Holy Week 2020, which was “made up” on November 29 of that year, when Francis accompanied the eleven new cardinals created in the Consistory on that day. On a visit to the honorary pontiff. Usually it has been renewed since 2016. Indeed, in the first two years, in 2014 and 2015, the Pope Emeritus took part in the celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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