Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Jul 26, 2019 / 03:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI left Vatican City Thursday to make a surprise visit to Castel Gandolfo.
The pope emeritus visited the Pontifical Villas July 25 for the first time in four years, and walked the garden paths where he used to pray, according to Italian media.
Benedict XVI then went to the 15th century Sanctuary of the Madonna of Tufo in Rocca di Papa for a short prayer before traveling to the town of Frascati in the Alban Hills outside of Rome.
In Frascati, Benedict had a private dinner with Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati at the Bishop's Palace. Benedict’s private secretary and Prefect of the Papal Household Archbishop Georg Gaenswein accompanied them.
Since his resignation in Feb. 2013, Benedict has led a life of prayer, occasionally consulting with and meeting with his successor. At age 92, he currently resides in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within Vatican City State, where he has few private meetings with guests for breakfast or lunch.