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Pope takes brief rest before birthday

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday recited an Easter prayer at the papacy's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome where he is taking a brief rest before his birthday this week.

Addressing hundreds of followers, a smiling Pope Benedict XVI intoned the Regina Coeli prayer and said the resurrection of Jesus Christ celebrated by Christians at Easter had "built a bridge between the world and eternal life".

Pope Benedict, who became pope in 2005, turns 82 on Thursday and has had an exhausting Holy Week. The Vatican said in a statement that the Roman Catholic leader would be taking "a brief rest" at Castel Gandolfo.

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