MARKTL AM INN, Germany – An oompah band and free beer were on tap in the main square Tuesday in the southern German town where Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI (search), was born.
Soon after Ratzinger's election, people in the tiny Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn (search) began gathering in the square, in the shadow of the house that was once the new pope's home.
Although Ratzinger's family moved away from the town when he was two and the new pope has said he has no memory of the place, the house has a plaque in his honor, and the font where he was baptized is displayed in the town museum.
"We are totally happy," said Mayor Hubert Gschwendtner, who hopes having a pope from Marktl will mean more investment in the town.
"It's completely wild that the new pope is from Marktl. We are completely in awe and congratulate Joseph Ratzinger from the bottom of our hearts," he said.