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Benedict XVI in the monastery of Mater Ecclesiae

· A brotherly welcome to the Vatican by Pope Francis ·

With great brotherly warmth Pope Francis welcomed Benedict XVI yesterday afternoon, Thursday 2 May, back to the Vatican after a little more than a two-month stay at Castel Gandolfo. They met at the entrance of the renovated monastery Mater Ecclesiae, where as we know Benedict XVI will reside. Out of the spotlight, the two prayed together, kneeling one beside the other in the monastery's chapel.

Accompanied by Archbishop Georg  Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, Benedict XVI, upon his arrival at the Vatican's heliport at 16:49, was received by Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate, with his Secretary General, Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, and by Archbishops Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, and Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

As you will recall, Benedict XVI moved to Castel Gandolfo in the afternoon of 28 February, the day on which he ended his Pontificate. On the 23 March he received Pope Francis as a guest. “Now,” it says in a statement from the Holy See Press Office, “he is happy to be back in the Vatican” and “intends to dedicate himself, as he said on 11 February, to the service of the Church above all through his prayer”.

As was previously announced, working in his new residence will be Archbishop  Gänswein as well as the Memores Domini who have been members of the Pontifical family in recent years.

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