Vatican City, Jan 2, 2023 / 13:00 pm
In the first hours after his election on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis thought of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Moments after making his first public appearance as pope, from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis said: “First of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our bishop emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and Our Lady may keep him.”
Leading the crowds in praying an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for his predecessor, Pope Francis marked the beginning of what would become almost 10 years of a fraternal relationship between “the two popes.”
Ten days after his election, Pope Francis flew by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo to visit Benedict, where he was staying at the Pontifical Villas, before his return to the Vatican on May 2, 2013.