Not your normal papal birthday

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has a front-page headline today that says, “An unusual birthday party.” The article, by Gianluca Biccini, who is traveling with the papal entourage, explains that Pope Benedict XVI “began the second day of his apostolic visit at an early hour with a Mass celebrated in the small chapel of the apostolic nunciature on the elegant Massachusetts Avenue.”

The paper described the Mass as being a “family” celebration with the pope’s closest aides as well as “about 30 members of the nunciature staff accompanied by their families.”

“The first wishes for a happy birthday,” the paper said, came yesterday at Andrews Air Force Base when students from Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md., who welcomed the pope by singing “Happy Birthday” and “waving hundreds of little U.S. and Vatican flags.”

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