Benedict XVI's 90th Birthday: Copyright: L'Osservatore Romano

Happy 93rd Birthday, Benedict XVI!

From Archives, We Remember Benedict XVI’s Words at His 90th Birthday Celebration

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Benedict XVI has turned 93 today!!

ZENIT welcomes you to join us in wishing the Pope Emeritus a happy and blessed birthday.

This year’s birthday will be different given the restrictions and lockdowns in place, across Italy, Europe and the world, which will not permit for his brother, Mons. Georg Ratzinger, to join him this year.

Yet, «we are doing well,» Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein says.

Given these circumstances, Zenit thought we could reminisce about his 90th birthday, when circumstances were different, and what the German retired Pontiff had to say.

Benedict XVI celebrated his 90th Birthday in Bavarian Style. 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. That year, Benedict’s birthday coincided with Easter Day.

‘My heart is full of gratitude,» he said, «for the 90 years that the good God has given me. There have been trials and difficult times, but He has always guided me and brought me out of them, so that I could continue my journey’

Below is a Zenit translation of Pope Benedict’s words of thanks to his «Bavarian friends» who came to the Vatican to celebrate with him at the «Mater Ecclesiae» Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where the retired Pontiff resides:


“My heart is full of gratitude for the 90 years that the good God has given me. There have been trials and difficult times, but He has always guided me and brought me out of them, so that I could continue my journey and I am full of gratitude especially because He has given me such a beautiful homeland that now you (the Gebirgsschutzen, Bavarian mountain riflemen) bring to me. Bavaria is beautiful [for its] creation. The country is beautiful for its bells, the houses with the balconies full of flowers, the people who are good. It is beautiful in Bavaria because God is known and it is known that it is He who created the world and that it is good when we build it together with Him. I thank you so much for having brought Bavaria here, that Bavaria open to the world, vivacious, happy, which can be so because it roots sink in the faith. To you all a ‘Vergelt’s Gott’ (God reward you), beginning with the Governor of Bavaria and all of you. I am happy that we were able to meet under this beautiful Roman blue sky, which with its white clouds recalls the white-blue flag of Bavaria – it is always the same sky . . . I wish you God’s blessing. Take my greetings home, my gratitude to you and with how much pleasure, in my heart, I continue to walk and to live in our landscapes and I hope that everything will remain so. Vergelt’s Gott.”

[Translation of Vatican Radio-provided transcription by ZENIT]

Benedict XVI’s 90th Birthday: Copyright: L’Osservatore Romano

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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