(AGI) Vatican City, June 28 - Pope Francis on Tuesday hosted a celebration for the 65th anniversary of the priestly ordination of his predecessor Benedict, the Pope Emeritus. The current Pope stressed the important role Pope Benedict still plays. The Pope Emeritus was not relegated "in a corner," he said. "It is quite the opposite, and this allows me to say it forcefully, his successor who has chosen to call himself Francis!" It was the first time since February 28, 2013, that the Pope Emeritus returned in public to the Apostolic Palace. Pope Francis said that Benedict continues to serve the Church, "not ceasing to truly contribute to her growth with strength and wisdom. And you do this from that little Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, that is shown in that way to be anything but that forgotten little corner to which today's culture of waste tends to relegate people when, with age, their strength diminishes." At the conclusion of his remarks, Pope Francis offered best wishes to Pope Emeritus Benedict on behalf of himself and of the whole Church, with the following prayer for the retired Pope: "That you, Holiness, might continue to feel the hand of the merciful God who supports you; that you might continue to experience and witness to us the love of God; that, with Peter and Paul, you might continue to rejoice with great joy as you journey toward the goal of the faith." He spoke, too, about the "Franciscan" dimension of the monastery, which recalls the Portiuncula, the "little portion" where St Francis founded his Order and laid down his life. . .