Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Updated: Jan 15
I was planning another trip away this week for the last week of the Christmas break possibly to Florence, but the unexpected news of Pope Benedicts death put an end to those plans. I wasn't going to miss the funeral the former Pope if it could be helped. The mass was held in the open in St Peters square, in what was an unexpected cold day, as we had been experiencing unusually warm weather the last few weeks, high teens even low twenties. A few of us from the college left at 5.30am for a 9.30am mass, to get a good position in the square and braved the single digit temperature and darkness. The mass was presided over by current Pope Francis and assisted by 120 cardinals 400 bishops and 4000 priests and attended by estimates around 50,000+ lay and religious. Before the mass started there was a rosary said in Latin, the mass was in Latin with readings in Spanish and English prayers of intersection were in multiple languages and the gospel read in Italian with Francis' homily in Italian too. The mass finished with a final commendation and incensing of the coffin and Benedict was taken away to be place in a tomb reserved for him in the scavi under St. Peters.
On Monday a few of us went into view the Benedict's body in state, the same process as Thursday's funeral, get in early stand in line and wait it was not long a wait. In what was a brief view time as were ushered through, we got to attend mass which was being celebrated in the chaple directly behind the main alter of St Peters where Benedict's body was laid.
The lines continued to poor in all day.
and they continued....
and continued for three days where they believe it was close to 200,000 people had come to pay their respects to Pope Benedict.
Thursday morning, cold dark but not deturbed the line up at 6am, on the Via Della Conciliazione.
When the barriers went down, it was like the starters gun went off and it was on up to St Peters.
till the next check point!
But eventually we all got in and found a seat. Our early morning start secured us a decent position up the front to view proceedings.
Now all we had to do was stay warm till the mass begun 3 hours! plenty of time for morning prayer and a rosary.
The morning fog and lighting made for an epic setting.
We eventually got the mass and Benedict's coffin was brought out.
All the cardinals and Pope Francis were in place.
The gospel being brought forward.
Incensing the coffin and final commendation.
Benedict being taken away into St Peters.
The mass ended to many chants of Benedict, Santo Subito,(saint now) and continuous clapping as we fare welled the coffin beyond the curtains into St Peter's where Pope Benedict will have his final resting place.
Thank you Pope Benedict.
A life of 95 years 71.5 years as a priest, 45.5 years a bishop, 27.8 year a cardinal, 7.8 years as Pope.
It is said that Pope Benedicts final words were "Jesus, I love you".
Then it was time to go home.
I have attached an article from the New York Times, with some very nice photos.