June 23, 2011. (Romereports.com) In his autobiography, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, explained how the most important day of his life, was the day he was ordained. It was June 29, 1951. On that day, Cardinal von Faulhaber of Munich ordained the Raztinger brothers in the Cathedral of Freising. Georg was 27 years old. Joseph,24. Their family was very religious, so their parents weren't really surprised by their decision.
“I don´t think there was was one precise moment when we told our parents," says his brother, Georg Ratzinger.
Mons. Georg Ratzinger
April 7, 2008
“I don´t think there was was one precise moment when we told our parents. It was a continuous development, something that became increasingly clear, so that we didn´t really have to say anything to our parents. It was somehow unspoken, but our parents sensed that this was the way we wanted to go. And our parents said yes to it. They said that one shouldn´t influence children in their choice of vocation, at most advise, but children must live their own lives.”
The future pope had entered the minor seminary twelve years earlier, in 1939. He had to leave though, because of the ongoing war. During that time Hitler forced teenagers to defend their country. Joseph was assigned to work in the trenches and he also built air defenses.
After the war, his seminary was basically reduced to ruins. The two brothers, Joseph and Georg returned to the city to reconstruct the building and recontinue their studies.
April 7, 2008
“At that time every soldier coming back from the war had to prove that he had a job, to ensure that no one was idle. That way everyone participated in rebuilding the country which was largely destroyed. The rector of the seminary said: to avoid going somewhere far away, where you are not feeling at ease, why don´t you come here and rebuild the Seminary. We have plenty of work for you! And so my brother and I went to the seminary and helped to clean and repair it.”
Five years of studies and preparation came on June 29, 1951. That day something happened that's forever etched in the memory of Joseph Ratzinger.
“When the old archbishop laid his hands on mine, a bird, perhaps a lark, rose from the altar and sang a happy song, for me it was like a voice from heaven telling me ''it's going well, you're taking the right path'.”
His first assignment was in the Church of the Precious Sange Christ in Munich. There, he held daily confession from 6 to 7 am. He was also responsible for youth programs, which included teaching religion to children.
He only served in that parish for a year. When the bishop saw his talent for teaching, he was called to teach at the seminary to prepare future priests.