- Happy Anniversary, Papa! (Salt + Light)
- Also marking his 60th anniversary is Joseph Ratzinger's brother, Georg The two brothers were ordained together on June 29, 1951. Vatican Radio spoke with Monsignor Ratzinger about his own recollections of that sunny day and the celebration in the cathedral of Freising.
- Joseph Ratzinger's Happiest Day (Zenit):
Joseph Ratzinger was ordained at age 24, together with his brother Georg, and more than 40 candidates, at the cathedral of Freising, near Munich, by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber.
"Adsum," (here I am), were the words the young Ratzingers pronounced in Latin before God and the people.
As the universal Church relives that day on Wednesday, the Pope has not wished it to be a moment of personal exaltation. Rather, it has been designated a day to promote thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood and to ask him to call forth new vocations.
In his Memoirs of 1927-1977 Ratzinger recalls that "radiant summer day."
"We should not be superstitious," he wrote, "but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird -- perhaps a lark -- flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, 'This is good; you are on the right way.'"
The following four weeks of discovery were like "an unending feast," the memoirs recount.
"Everywhere we were received even by total strangers with a warmth and affection I had not thought possible until that day," he remembered. "In this way I learned firsthand how earnestly people wait for a priest, how much they long for the blessing that flows from the power of the sacrament. The point was not my own or my brothers' person. What could we two young men represent all by ourselves to the many people we were now meeting?
"In us they saw persons who had been touched by Christ's mission and had been empowered to bring his nearness to men."
- Benedict XVI: "Sixty Years of Memories, Gratitude and Hope" (Vatican Information Service, July 2, 2011):
At the end of a luncheon today, offered by the College of Cardinals to the Pope to mark the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College, congratulated the Holy Father and, in the name of all those present, gave him an offering for the poor of Rome, the Pope's own diocese, "in view", he said, "of the urgent needs of so many Romans, as well as of numerous immigrants and refugees".
The Holy Father, having thanked the cardinals for their gift, made some remarks. "This is a moment of gratitude for the Lord's guidance; for everything He has given me and forgiven me over these years", he said. "Yet it is also a moment to remember. In 1951 the world was completely different: there was no television, there was no internet, there were no computers, there were no mobile phones. The world from which we come truly seems prehistoric. Above all, our cities were in ruins, the economy destroyed, there was great material and spiritual poverty. Yet there was also a great energy and a will to rebuild this country and to renew ... the community on the foundation of our faith".
"Then came Vatican Council II where all the hopes we had seemed to come true. This was followed by the cultural revolution of 1968, difficult years during which the ship of the Lord appeared to be taking on water, almost about to sink. Nonetheless the Lord, Who seemed then to be sleeping, was present and He led us forward. Those were the unforgettable years in which I worked alongside Blessed Pope John Paul II. Finally, came the unexpected day of 19 April 2005 when the Lord called me to a new task and, only by virtue of His strength, abandoning myself to Him, was I able at that moment to say 'yes'.
"Over these sixty years nearly everything has changed; but the Lord's faithfulness has remained", the Holy Father added in conclusion. "He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. This is our certainty, which shows us the way to the future. The time to remember, the time of gratitude, is also the time of hope".