Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict XVI!

Will you join me in offering an extra prayer today for our Holy Father? He has a heavy cross, you know.

Here are some interesting things about him on this, his birthday:

  • He was born on April 16, 1927, which, that year, was Holy Saturday. He was baptized that same day.
  • He wanted to be a cardinal ever since his fifth birthday, when he saw a cardinal for the first time.
  • He learned how to play piano when he was growing up. He still plays today, and enjoys particularly Mozart and Bach.
  • He is the first Pope to own an ipod, which was given to him by Vatican Radio back in 2006 on its 75th anniversary.
  • The German Army drafted Ratzinger in 1943, but, because of an infected finger, he never learned to shoot. He deserted the Army near the end of the war.
  • He entered the seminary when he was 12, and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood the same day as his brother.
  • He loves cake.
  • He has an asteroid named for him, Ratzinger 8661, named in honor of his unsealing the Vatican archive documents relating to the Inquisition of Galileo and Giordano Bruno. The asteroid was discovered in 1990.
  • His favorite beer is Franziskaner Weissbeer.
  • He was one of just three voting cardinals who wasn’t made a cardinal by John Paul II.
  • He announced the death of Pope John Paul II.

  • He still has the stuffed animals his mother made for him when he was a child.

  • He loves cats and has two of his own. One was a stray which he found in Rome.

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