It’s truly historic for us to have two Santo Papas living in the Vatican at the same time. Furthermore, the two are known for their very different personalities. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the prefect of the papal household and the personal secretary of Pope Benedict, shares how the two holy men he serves spend the holidays.
Also Read: The Man Who Serves Two Popes
How does Pope Francis celebrate Christmas?
We know that he [Pope Francis] is a prayerful man—he shows us every day. Therefore, I think that during Christmas, he tries to dedicate more time to encounter the Lord, to meditate. The beautiful and nourishing liturgical celebration help in doing so.
How will Pope Benedict spend Christmas?
Pope Benedict is really into the Christmas season. Now he has more time to meditate on the mystery of the birth of our Lord.
Do you exchange gifts with the Pope?
Of course. We always exchange gifts with Pope Benedict and the Memores, the consecrated lay women who live in the house in the afternoon of Christmas day, as our tradition dictates, even during the papacy.
Do you put up Christmas decorations?
Yes. In our chapel, there’s a Christmas tree and a nativity scene. There’s another tree and a nativity scene in the living room. The Pope Emeritus loves the belen and Christmas decors very much.
How do you spend the holidays?
As a family, Pope Benedict, the Memores, and I get together to sing the Christmas carols, typical of our tradition. We have a large printed collection of German and Italian songs. We also listen to some CDs of Christmas music.