According to the Holy See Press Office, on April 17, 2017, the day after his birthday, the Pope Emeritus welcomed in the Vatican a group of about 50 Bavarians, dressed in traditional attire.
This year, Benedict’s birthday coincided with Easter Day. Last Wednesday, Pope Francis visited the”Mater Ecclesiae” Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where the retired Pontiff resides, to give Benedict Easter and birthday wishes.
During Monday’s birthday festivities, Benedict’s brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, was also present. The festive atmosphere also included pretzels and German beer, a sip of which the Pope Emeritus tasted along with a classic Bavarian pretzel.
To make the background and atmosphere even more familiar to the retired German Pontiff, there was typical music with accordions and flags of Bavaria all around.
Pope Benedict thanked his “Bavarian friends” who came to the Vatican to celebrate with him, adding some words of love for his homeland: “Bavaria is beautiful from its Creation. The country is beautiful for its bell towers, houses with balconies full of flowers, good people.”
“It is beautiful in Bavaria because it knows God and one knows that He is the one Who created the world and that this is good, when we build it together with Him. ”
Joseph Ratzinger added: “There have been difficult trials and times, but He always guided me and pulled me out, so that I could continue my journey.”
“My heart is full of gratitude for the 90 years that good God has given me,” Benedict XVI said, thanking those present for “bringing Bavaria” to him.