|Pope Francis greets Benedict on his return to the Vatican Thursday|
Dear Family and Friends,
At about 4:55pm today, Benedict returned to the Vatican for the first time since the election of Pope Francis. It was a beautiful day for his return. He is living now at the former Mater Ecclesiae Convent just behind the dome of Saint Peter’s. His transfer to the Vatican was kept very quiet – I have a friend who was there behind Saint Peter’s when Benedict arrived, and he said that everything suddenly shut down, Benedict zipped through in his car, and that was that.
|beautiful weather today for Benedict's return - the view from my seminary|
Benedict is 86, and he said “I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” I’d be willing to bet that’s just what he’ll do, and thus we won’t be seeing much of him.
|Benedict's new house|
Here are a few pictures of the building where he’s living now. It’s in the heart of the Vatican Gardens, with a beautiful view of Saint Peter’s Basilica. I got lost in the gardens at night back in December, and happened to walk right by it, and I’d say it’s definitely one of the most quiet parts of Vatican City. Benedict loved to stroll and pray there as Pope, and now he gets his wish to live there as Pope Emeritus.
|Benedict's new house from the front|
|Benedict's new house under renovation|
Here’s a little diagram of Vatican City that explains things a bit. Next time you’re in Rome, your best chance to see Benedict will be by trekking to the top of the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica and looking from there.
|Vatican City diagram with Benedict's new house|
Let’s say a prayer for Benedict today. His age is certainly weighing on him. From what I hear, he is partially blind in one eye. But he’s hanging in there, offering his life now for the Church and the world. What a great example! I sure hope he stays with us many more a year.
God bless you!Brother Kevin