Benedict XVI to Celebrate His 65th Ordination Anniversary With Pope Francis

Ceremony Will Be Held June 28 to Remember the Anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s Priestly Ordination in the Cathedral of Freising on June 29, 1951

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«Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we work together for your joy” was the quotation from 2 Corinthians 1:24 that on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, 1951, now 65 years ago, accompanied Joseph Ratzinger’s priestly Ordination, imparted in the Cathedral of Freising, from the hands of the Cardinal Archbishop of Monaco, Michael von Faulhaber, and engraved on the holy card in remembrance of that event.
This significant anniversary will be remembered with a solemn ceremony on June 28 in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, in the presence of Pope Francis and of the Pope Emeritus himself, Benedict XVI, who will be handed a volume on the priesthood made for the occasion.
Ratzinger recalls in his memoirs that there were more than 40 ordained that day: «When we were called, we answered Adsum, ‘here I am.’” He remembers the splendid summer’s day «as the most important moment of my life.”
One must not be superstitious, but at the moment in which the elderly Archbishop imposed his hands upon me, a small bird – perhaps a sky lark – rose from the Cathedral’s main altar and intoned a little joyful song; for me it was as if a voice from on high said to me: it’s ok, you are on the right way, Ratzinger would recall.
Also ordained a priest together with him was his older brother Georg.
While the Pope Emeritus prepares for this important celebration, among the Pontiffs who reached 65 years of priesthood we can remember Leo XIII, who celebrated it at the beginning of the last century. The priesthood is not simply an “office” but a Sacrament: God makes use of a poor man in order to be, through him, present for men and to act in their favor, affirmed Benedict XVI on June 11, 2010, in the homily at the conclusion of the Year for Priests, which he proclaimed on the 150th anniversary of the death of John Mary Vianney, Patron Saint of all the world’s parish priests.
Volume XII of Joseph Ratzinger’s Opera Omnia, entitled “Heralds of the Word and Servants of Your Joy,” is dedicated to the priesthood; it brings together more than 80 texts focused on the ecclesiastical ministry. The volume, sub-titled “Theology and Spirituality of the Sacrament of Holy Orders,” contains theological-scientific studies, meditations on priestly spirituality and homilies on the episcopal, priestly and diaconal service, fruit of the activity of Joseph Ratzinger, theologian, Bishop and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which cover a time frame of almost half a century, from 1954 to 2002.

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Luca Caruso

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