Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

POPE-BIRTHDAY Apr-16-2009 (310 words) xxxi

Pope celebrates low-key birthday with brother at papal villa

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a low-key birthday with his brother at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo.

The pope, who turned 82 April 16, had a very informal "family celebration" that included a visit by a small group of top Vatican officials, the Vatican's spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters.

The officials, including the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, visited the pope in the morning to offer their birthday wishes.

The pope then had a private lunch with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who turned 85 early this year, Father Lombardi said.

The Vatican spokesman said the pope received from government and church leaders worldwide many letters wishing him a happy birthday and "even some sweets."

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who sent a special written message for the pope's birthday and the fourth anniversary of his election as pope April 19, thanked Pope Benedict for his support of those hit by the April 6 earthquake in central Italy.

The president thanked him for his words and gestures, which he said "comforted the whole nation and encouraged us to deeply embrace the message of hope that comes with the celebration of Easter."

Father Lombardi said the German band that had been in St. Peter's Square during the pope's weekly general audience April 15 had gone out to Castel Gandolfo where the pope was staying.

He said band members played "a small concert" of two musical interludes in the courtyard of the papal villa for the pope on the eve of his birthday.

During the general audience at the Vatican, pilgrims had broken into a spontaneous rendition of "Happy birthday, dear Benedict" followed by an encore with musical accompaniment by the German band, whose members wore traditional German costumes.

Smaller groups of pilgrims also sang birthday greetings in their native languages at different moments during the audience.

END


Copyright (c) 2009 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250