16-April-2013 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Benedict XVI Receives Birthday Greetings From Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, April 16 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Francis made a phone call on the morning of April 16 to wish a happy 86th birthday to his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

The Holy Father also sent greetings to Benedict's brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who has been at Castel Gandolfo with the retired Pope for several days.

Both Pope Francis – formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio – and Msgr. Ratzinger will celebrate the feast day of their namesake, St. George, on April 23.

The Pope also remembered his predecessor at morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

"Today is Benedict XVI's birthday," he said as he began the celebration of the Mass, inviting attendees to pray for the retired Pontiff.

"We offer the Mass for him, so that the Lord be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation," Pope Francis said.

Pope Benedict announced on Feb. 11 that he would be resigning from the papacy at the end of the month due to old age and declining strength. Pope Francis was elected as the new Pontiff on March 13.

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