Looking back: When Annunciation School students sang happy birthday to Pope Benedict during D.C. visit

(This article is adapted from a story that appeared in the April 17, 2008 edition of the Catholic Standard that chronicled Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died in Rome on Dec. 31, 2022 at the age of 95.)

An excited mixture of clapping, cheering, screaming and singing only became louder as Pope Benedict XVI walked toward about 130 Annunciation Catholic School students who waited in front of the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embassy) on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C., to wish the pope a happy 81st birthday on April 16, 2008.

Students sang “Happy Birthday” to him in English and in his native language, German, and held up a banner with a jumbo-size painting of the pope dressed in a green cassock and white miter. Along the sides and bottom of the painting, students had written

“Annunciation Catholic School wishes you a very happy birthday!”

Pope Benedict shook the hands of several students and congratulated Denyce Daniels, who was then the school’s music teacher and choir director, on the students’ singing performance. He said it was “Wonderful. In German and in English.”

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