Pope marks birthday with private Mass

2012-04-16 Vatican Radio

Pope Benedict XVI marked his 85th birthday today, with a series of events both sacred and civil. Listen to our report:

Born 85 years ago Monday in the tiny Bavarian town of Marktl, hard by the river Inn, near the border with Austria, on what was in that year – 1927 – Holy Saturday, and baptized that same day: Jospeh Aloisius Ratzinger would go on to an illustrious career as a university professor, pastor, and Prince of the Church before being elected to succeed Blessed John Paul II – choosing for himself the name Benedict the XVI. Both anniversaries occur this week, and well wishes have been coming in from all around the world – some of which he received in person and privately at 11 on Monday morning in the Vatican, before an official noonday birthday greeting offered by a delegation from his native Bavaria.

Earlier Monday morning, in the Pauline chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass with guests from Bavaria and several German bishops. In his homily, the Holy Father noted that for him, this anniversary day of his birth and his baptism is always immersed in the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of the Cross and resurrection, “In a special way,” he said, “as Holy Saturday, the day of God's silence, the apparent absence of the death of God and yet the day that the resurrection is announced.”

The Pope went on to say that he knows now – though he cannot say what the future has in store - that because God is the light and Christ is risen, that His light is stronger than all darkness, that God's good is stronger than all the evil in this world.