Pope Benedict XVI turned 82 on April 16, 2009.
Vatican media noted the milestone, with the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore runnng a front-page birthday greetings in Latin - "Ad multos annos, sancte pater" (many happy returns, Holy Father). Vatican Radio also ran birthday special: an interview with papal spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi in which he acknowledged that the most difficult period of the past year was the Vatican's decision to remove the excommunication of a bishop who denied the Holocaust. He said the Pope's decision, despite the outcry that ensued, was guided by his overall desire to "bring men back to God and God back to men".
The whole parish community of Mt. Carmel jins the rest of Christendom in thanksgiving prayers for the Holy Father's continued good health. May he remain in the service of the Lord for many, many years to come.
Choice of name
The Pope, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, explained his choice of name Benedict XVI during his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square, on April 27 2005: "Filled with awe and thanksgiving. I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided thte Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples..."