Cardinal Bertone, 5 Salesians Celebrate With Pope

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and five Salesians ordained with him in 1960 celebrated their 50th anniversary with a special guest today -- Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Bertone, who has served as the Pope's secretary of state since 2006, marked his 50th anniversary on July 1.

The six priests had an audience with the Holy Father in his private library. Besides Cardinal Bertone, the others marking their anniversaries were Fathers Giuseppe Agliati, Sebastiano Bergherone, Franco Lacchia, Domenico Rosso and Stefano Rosso.

The Pontiff thanked them for their service to the Church and, after imparting to them the apostolic blessing, took leave of the group.

Later, the Salesians gathered in Cardinal Bertone's offices to concelebrate the Eucharist.

In the homily, the Italian cardinal highlighted the fact that these Salesians dedicated their activity to young people and the Church.

"Some of you have been parish priests, and one of you has been involved in youth ministry, though having celebrated his 75th birthday," Cardinal Bertone noted. "This means that the spirit of Don Bosco continues living and that we must thank the Lord for the gift of the priesthood."

After the Mass, the participants lunched with their brothers of the Salesian community of the Vatican, whose superior is Father Pietro Migliasso, director general of the Vatican Printing Press.

On Tuesday, Cardinal Bertone will close the celebrations with a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.