To celebrate the 95th birthday of Benedict XVI, readers of this Internet portal were given the opportunity to send the Pope Emeritus their personal birthday wishes. Thousands of faithful from around the world took part. The moving words of gratitude in so many birthday messages testify to the great influence that the peaching and faithful example of Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger on many people around the world.
The Pope Emeritus himself has now responded, thanking everyone for the birthday wishes sent his way via BenedictusXVI.org:
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The Pope Emeritus’ private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who helped Benedict XVI read the birthday messages on the Internet, wrote:
The Pope Emeritus has asked me to express his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who wished him a happy birthday on the website www.BenedictusXVI.org. He was filled with great joy and deeply touched by the many warm and affectionate messages that were sent to him there.
picture alliance / Stefano Spaziani | Stefano Spaziani
On April 16, 1927, a Holy Saturday, Joseph Ratzinger was born in Marktl am Inn. This year, his birthday is falling on a Holy Saturday once again: On April 16, 2022, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be 95 years old. His life is the biography of a century. His personality has shaped the Church and the field of theology in profound ways. As successor to the Apostle Peter, he proclaimed the Gospel of Christ to the whole world. As a modern-day doctor of the Church, he has made the faith accessible to today’s world and pointed toward ways of renewal. All over the world, people look with gratitude at the work of this once-in-a-century theologian, whose life has been a sign of the Paschal Mystery from the very beginning.
This is your opportunity to write to Benedict XVI directly and send him your birthday greetings and blessings. The birthday wishes you leave on this website will be collected and presented to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. “I know this will make him very happy,” says Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary.
picture alliance/dpa/Sergey Pyatakov
I can only start by expressing my gratitude. I thank God for giving us Joseph Ratzinger on Holy Saturday 1927 – a fine human being, a profoundly devout Christian, outstanding theologian, and a kind and gracious bishop and pope. And I thank Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his lifelong witness to the love of God and for his compelling life’s work as a theologian. On the occasion of his birthday, which he is once again celebrating on a Holy Saturday, I wish that it be a day of joy and appreciation for him; that, despite all the hostility from the outside world, which unfortunately never quite goes away, he be able look back with gratitude on his life and his work as a bishop and a theologian; and that, on his final earthly pilgrimage, he be able to approach with confidence that final encounter with Jesus Christ, whose face he has sought for a lifetime and made known to us. For this, I offer my heartfelt thanks, and I remain particularly united to him in prayer on his 95th birthday!
Kurt Cardinal Koch
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Fotograf: Tobias Bosina
Dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I wish you a happy 95th birthday from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the best, good health, and God’s abundant blessings. But what I want to tell you most of all on your special day is thank you! With what you have written, preached, and witnessed throughout your life, you have provided me with valuable guidance and direction. I am grateful for your reliable voice of faith and reason, and for the courage you have shown in bearing witness, even when it often meant going against the prevailing winds. Thank you!
Clara Konopka, Passau, Germany
Esteemed Pope Benedict XVI, it was at the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne that I came to the faith, and when I went on to study theology at university, your teaching had a profound impact on me. I would like to thank you personally for this. On this, your 95th birthday, I wish you the peace and blessings of Our Risen Lord. May He continue to faithfully accompany you.
Dr. Björn Hirsch, Fulda, Germany
I was born on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn. The fact that the day of my birth was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter has always been noted in our family history. This was connected with the fact that I was baptized immediately on the morning of the day I was born with the water that had just been blessed (At that time the solemn Easter Vigil was celebrated on the morning of Holy Saturday.) To be the first person baptized with the new water was seen as a significant act of Providence.
I have always been filled with thanksgiving for having had my life immersed in this way in the Easter mystery, since this could only be a sign of blessing. To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday, but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.
We would like to thank all those who cordially congratulated Benedict XVI on the occasion of his 95th birthday through this website.
Benedict XVI was very pleased by the numerous moving letters from all across the world.
In addition, all congratulatory letters published here will shortly be presented to the Pope Emeritus in printed form.
The Tagespost Foundation for Catholic Journalism