Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy birthday, dear Pontiff!

Holy Week: the busiest period of the year for the Pope

Celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI asked everyone to continue to prepare for Easter through penitence and acts of charity. It was the beginning of Holy Week, the busiest period of the year for the Pope, with a demanding schedule of public appearances of a business nature, never mind the additional personal ones.

The German Pontiff had celebrated his 84th birthday the day before.

After a procession in St. Peter's Square with palm branches, the Pope offered Holy Mass, which took two and a half hours. His homily used some scientific imagery: he described people as caught between two "gravitational fields."

After Mass, the Pope expressed greetings in seven languages to the thousands of young people in the square and said he was looking forward to the World Youth Day celebration in Madrid next August.

And yes, the youths then serenaded the Pope with an abbreviated version of "Happy Birthday" in Italian.

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