Sunday, May 18, 2003

Happy 83rd birthday, Pope John Paul II !!!
At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his capacity as dean of the College of Cardinals, congratulated the Pope on his birthday, not only on behalf of those present in Rome, but also on behalf of the "innumerable people spread throughout the world, well beyond the confines of the Catholic Church, including beyond the confines of the Christian world."

"To believe and to love: this is the program of his pontificate. You show us, tirelessly, the face of Christ, the face of the merciful God," Cardinal Ratzinger said. "Tirelessly you lead us, grounding us in Christ, to overcome the forces of hatred, the prejudices that separate, to pull down the walls that attempt to separate us," he added.

"By beginning afresh from Christ, you help us to find the way that leads to salvation. For this, we wish to give you our heartfelt thanks. May the Lord reward you as he rewards his faithful servants," he said.

Vatican City. May 18, 2003.

For the first time, the Holy See has given an e-mail address: on its web page (, so that any one who wishes to send congratulations may do so.

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