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MARKTL-AM-INN - Dozens of Catholics attended a pre-dawn candlelight procession yesterday in Marktl-am-Inn, the little Bavarian town where Pope Benedict XVI was born 80 years ago.
The hour was chosen because the church register says Joseph Ratzinger was born at 4.15am on April 16 1927. German baptism records always note the exact birth time.
The procession began at the birthplace, the town where Ratzinger was born in the upstairs lodgings of a former police station which opened on Sunday as a Ratzinger museum, and finished in the Church of St Oswald.
They recited morning prayers around the baptismal font where the infant had water poured over his forehead on the same day he was born.
The font was taken out of the church years ago during a church renovation and used as a bird bath in the parish priest's garden, but on Ratzinger's promotion to cardinal it was recovered and put in the town museum.
Since Ratzinger's promotion two years ago to pope, it has been restored and put back in its place in the church because of its association with the leader of the Catholic church.
Ratzinger and his family moved away from Marktl when he was two, but the town, which is near the Austrian border, continues to attract tourists tracing the steps of Benedict's life. - Sapa-DPA