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Former pope Benedict XVI celebrates quiet 91st birthday at Vatican

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Former pope Benedict XVI celebrates quiet 91st birthday at Vatican

Former pope Benedict XVI celebrates quiet 91st birthday at Vatican

Former pope Benedict XVI spent a quiet 91st birthday on Monday in the company of his older brother Georg, the Vatican said in a statement.

Pope Francis dedicated his morning Mass to his predecessor, and sent him personal wishes, the Vatican said, adding that the Swiss Guards band would honour Benedict with a small evening concert at his residence.

Born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria, southern Germany, Benedict became in 2013 the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, citing the strains of old age.

His brother Georg, 94, came from Bavaria to spend some time at the Mater Ecclesia, the monastery within Vatican grounds where the pope emeritus has promised to remain “hidden to the world.”

In February, Benedict said in a letter to Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he was preparing to meet his maker: “As my physical strength slowly fades, I am on an interior pilgrimage towards home.”

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