This morning, after celebrating a private Mass at the major seminary of St. Wolfgang in Regensburg, Benedict XVI travelled to the basilica of Alte Kapelle (Old Chapel), three kilometers away.
That church, built around the year 1000, occupies the entire southern end of the city's old wheat market square and was originally the chapel of the ducal palace. It is dedicated to Our Lady and contains an image of the Virgin which local tradition attributes to St. Luke, a gift from Pope Benedict VIII to Henry II.
On arrival the Holy Father was welcomed by the dean and the chapter. He then proceeded to bless the new organ, which is dedicated to him, and pronounced a brief address.
"Music and song are more than an embellishment of worship," said the Pope, "they are themselves part of the liturgical action."
The organ, "transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, evokes the divine. ... It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God."
"Just as in an organ an expert hand must constantly bring disharmony back to consonance, so we in the Church, in the variety of our gifts and charisms, always need to find anew, through our communion in faith, harmony in the praise of God and in fraternal love. The more we allow ourselves, through the liturgy, to be transformed in Christ, the more we will be capable of transforming the world, radiating Christ's goodness, His mercy and His love for others."
After the ceremony, Benedict XVI went by foot to the house of his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, where he had lunch.
In the early afternoon, the Pope and his brother are due to travel by car to the nearby Ziegetzdorf cemetery where their parents, Maria and Joseph, and their sister Maria are buried. After praying at the tomb of his family, the Pope will travel by car to Pentling, a village of around a hundred inhabitants in which he lived when he was a professor at the University of Regensburg, and of which he holds honorary citizenship.
Benedict XVI will visit the house and garden where he used to live with his brother, remaining until around 7.30 p.m. when he is due to return to the major seminary of Regensburg where he will spend the night.