Friday, April 16, 2010

Let Him Eat Cake

Amid the most seismic crisis his five-year pontificate's faced, today sees B16's 83rd birthday... and a group of American pilgrims brought him a treat.

After welcoming members of the Philadelphia-based Papal Foundation for their annual Roman pilgrimage, the pontiff was given a cake as the visitors sang "Happy Birthday" in English, according to the AP. (At Benedict's right is the Foundation's President, Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston.)

Established in 1988, the Papal Foundation underwrites charitable works entrusted to the Holy See as a means of extending the Pope's support.

This second week of Easter is invariably a big one for Americans in Rome -- beyond the Foundation pilgrimage, last night saw another of the city's major Stateside events of each year: the Rector's Dinner at the Pontifical North American College, its 20th edition now in the books.

A high-point of the Urb's annual social calendar for expats and Curialists alike, this year's dinner honored the Hill's best-known former chief as he observed his first anniversary as archbishop of New York.

As previously noted, Monday will see the fifth anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger's election as the 265th Roman pontiff. In the meanwhile, Benedict will depart Rome tomorrow for a two-day trip to Malta -- his 14th overseas jaunt as Pope.

SVILUPPO: As someone asked "What kind of cake?" B16 was given, CNS reports that the pontiff was presented with a "fresh strawberry and kiwi custard" goodie.