Pope visits with retired clergy and laywoman who worked at the Vatican

Sydney, Australia, Jul 19, 2008 / 11:32 am (CNA) .- As he made his way to the Evening Vigil at Randwick racecourse on Saturday evening, Pope Benedict paid a brief visit to some of Australia’s retired Church officials, who were delighted by their encounter with the Pontiff.

The Holy Father stopped by the Mt. St. Joseph’s Home in Randwick - run by the Little Sisters of the Poor - on his way to the World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) Evening Vigil at Randwick Racecourse tonight.

The Pope first visited with retired Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy, 84, who was the seventh Archbishop of Sydney, serving from 1983 to 2001.

A spokesman for WYD08 said the Holy Father also visited retired Bishops William Brennan and William Murray.

The Holy Father also met with 92 year old Rosemarie Goldie, the Sydney-born former under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity - the first woman to hold such a high office in the Vatican.

Pope Benedict also spoke with several retired priests staying at the home in a visit that lasted around 20 minutes.

It is understood all were thrilled by the Holy Father’s visit, a late addition to his schedule, the spokesman said.