Sunday, April 22, 2012


Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 7th anniversary as Pope this year. Before becoming Archbishop of Munich, the then Father Joseph Ratzinger was a Professor of theology at several university faculties in Germany. His papacy has been marked by his sublime theological observations in his speeches and homilies. What surprises many people is that he can also articulate profound ideas on a level young children can understand. This was demonstrated in his first year as Pope, when he answered questions in St. Peter’s Square from children about to receive their first Holy Communion.

“I was intrigued at the thought of the scholar speaking to young children,” said artist Ann Engelhart. “When I heard he would be speaking to these children in Rome, I thought I would love to hear what he has to say to them. It was a very important conversation directed to children, but on their level.”

She soon contacted writer Amy Welborn to speak about collaborating on a book about the encounter.

“It was a beautiful event. I wanted to be able to make it available to children and families in a format that would be usable for them,” Engelhart told Vatican Radio.

The book is called Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Speaks to Children on their First Holy Communion. It is a picture book which combines the words of the Pope with wonderful watercolour paintings by Engelhart.

“It was a very important conversation directed to children, but on their level. As always, Pope Benedict doesn’t really talk down to children, he speaks to them.”


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