No pomp or ceremony as pope turns 85 | News | DW | 16.04.2012
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No pomp or ceremony as pope turns 85

Pope Benedict XVI turned 85 on Monday but planned no public events to mark the occasion. Among those wishing him well at the Vatican were his older brother.

Pope Benedict XVI had a low-key celebration to mark his 85th birthday on Monday, choosing to invite a small circle of friends and family.

"There will be no solemn festivities in the Vatican for the pope, but rather a family feast, like he himself has asked," Benedict's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein told the Italian magazine Gente.

"He never breaks with his daily routine," Gänswein added.

Visitors from home

Among those who traveled to the Vatican for the event were the pontiff's older brother and Horst Seehofer, premier of Benedict's native state of Bavaria in southern Germany.

He began the day by celebrating Mass in the Pauline Chapel in his official residence, the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

Benedict, who was born as Joseph Ratzinger in the Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn, became the oldest pope in three centuries when he was elected by his fellow cardinals in 2005.

Mindful of his age, the pope on Sunday asked the faithful to pray for his health.

"Next Thursday, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of my election to the See of Peter I ask for your prayers, so that the Lord gives me the strength to fulfill the mission he entrusted to me," he told thousands who had turned out to St.Peter's Square.

pfd/sej (AP, dpa)