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Pope Benedict XVI celebrates 88th birthday with party, pint

Published:Friday | April 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, third from right, toasts for his 88th birthday with his brother Georg Ratzinger, right, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, second from right, and members of a group from his hometown Bavaria region, in the pontiff's Castel Gandolfo residence, in the hills overlooking Rome, yesterday.

VATICAN CITY (AP):

Retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 88th birthday yesterday with a party at his old summer residence and a pint of beer.

Photos released by the Vatican newspaper yesterday showed Benedict toasting a group of Bavarians in the gardens of the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, accompanied by his older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, and his longtime private secretary.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Benedict's honour yesterday morning, saying he hopes God "supports him and gives him much joy and happiness".

The photos were the first proof that Benedict has used the papal summer residence since he spent several months there following his February 2013 resignation.

Francis has declined to use the estate, preferring to stay in the Vatican hotel even during the hot summer months.