Vatican City, 16 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, on the occasion of the birthday of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, the Holy Father Francis began the celebration of Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, inviting all those present to pray with these words: “Today is Benedict XVI's birthday. We offer the Mass for him, so that the Lord be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation.”

During the morning, Pope Francis then made friendly a phone call to Benedict XVI to wish him a happy birthday as well as to extend his greetings and best wishes to his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who has been at Castel Gandolfo for several days, staying precisely to celebrate in a familial and fraternal way, today's occasion and who will in turn celebrate his saint's day, St. George, this coming 23 April, just as Pope Francis will.

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