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Francis and Benedict exchange Easter best wishes

AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HO
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Pope drops in Tuesday afternoon to Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where his predecessor resides.

Pope Francis on Tuesday afternoon met Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican and offered him best wishes for Easter, the Holy See’s Press Office said in a communique.

The Holy Father generally visits his predecessor for Easter and Christmas. He also usually takes new cardinals to visit the Pope Emeritus.

The two are also known to speak by phone.

For his part, Benedict XVI has not appeared in public since December 8, 2015, on the occasion of the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica for the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. On June 28, 2016, he appeared in the Apostolic Palace with a small group, accompanied by Francis, for the celebration of his 65 years of priesthood.

He has, though, been on the public scene a handful of times since his retirement with his writings — prefaces to books or letters, etc.

Benedict XVI will celebrate his 91st birthday on April 16.

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