Apostolic Nuncio's Reception for the anniversary of the Holy Father
Address from the Nuncio for the Reception in honour of the Pontificate oh H.H. pope Benedict XVI and the 60th Anniversary of his Ordination to The Priesthood.

Your Excellencies,
Dear friends,

I offer a warm welcome to you all, and my personal thanks to you for honouring us with your presence at this Reception, marking the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Ordination to the Priesthood of Pope Benedict XVI, which occurs tomorrow, the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. May I thank you all for coming and I thank you, dear Archbishop Vincent, for allowing us to be here for this Reception.

In his memoirs the Holy Father wrote of his Ordination day: “We should not be superstitious, 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.’”

Pope Benedict’s memoir continues: “Everywhere we were received, even by total strangers, with a warmth and affection I had not thought possible until that day… 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 brother’s person… In us they saw persons who had been touched by Christ’s mission and had been empowered to bring his nearness to others.”

In these days, as we give thanks for the Ministry of the Holy Father, as priest, bishop and now as the successor of Saint Peter, he has asked that it not be celebrated as a moment for his personal exaltation. Rather, he has asked that it promote thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood and to ask him for new vocations.

As we celebrate the ministry of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, I should like to conclude by expressing my respect and admiration for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, my thanks to Her Majesty’s Government and Officials, and my very best wishes to the Church and to all the people of England and Wales. I now ask you to raise your glasses and drink to the health and Ministry of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

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