The messages were mainly written in German, English, Italian, and Polish.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of the pope emeritus, showed Benedict XVI the messages on a tablet at his residence, the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.
“The pope emeritus has asked me to express his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who wished him a happy birthday on the website benedictusXVI.org,“ Gänswein said.
“He was filled with great joy and deeply touched by the many warm and affectionate messages that were sent to him there.“
The retired pope’s birthday fell this year on Holy Saturday, as it did when he was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, a small Bavarian town not far from Austria.
Looking back to his birth in his memoir, he wrote: “The fact that the birthday was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter was always noted in the family history, because it was connected with the fact that I was baptized right on the morning of my birthday with the water that had just been consecrated in the ‘Easter Vigil’ celebrated at that time in the morning. To be the first baptized with the new water was considered a significant providential event.”