Francis Meets With Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Before WYD

Requests Spiritual Closeness and Prayer

Pope Francis visited his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on Friday to ask for his prayers on the Pontiff’s trip to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. Pope Francis also asked the Pontiff Emeritus to accompany “with his spiritual closeness and prayer” to the young people who are gathering for the event.

A communique released by the Holy See stated that Pope Francis gave Pope Emeritus XVI a booklet of the trip, “so that he can take part spiritually”. The Holy Father also gave him a commemorative medal prepared for the trip.

“Benedict XVI assured him of his prayer, recalling the intense and wonderful experiences of past world meetings with young people at Cologne, Sydney and Madrid,” the communique stated. The Pope Emeritus had announced Rio de Janeiro as the site of the 28th World Youth Day at the conclusion of WYD in Madrid.

Prior to their meeting, the two Popes began “with a moment of joint prayer in the Chapel” of Benedict XVI’s residence.

They then had a “cordial conversation which lasted about half an hour,” the Vatican statement reported.

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