Pope to bid Catholics farewell on 27 Feb

2013-02-12 18:45
Pope Benedict XVI. (File, AFP)

Pope Benedict XVI. (File, AFP)

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Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI will bid his followers farewell in a final audience in St Peter's Square on 27 February, the day before he officially steps down, a Vatican spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"The last general audience will be held in the square since a lot of people will come," Federico Lombardi said at a press briefing.

Lombardi also said the pope's traditional Ash Wednesday mass on 13 February would be his last major religious ceremony as pope together with other prelates.

The mass, which marks the start of a period of penitence before Easter for Christians, will be held in St Peter's Basilica instead of a smaller Rome church in order to accommodate large numbers of people expected because of the announcement.

"We suppose there will be a lot of people who will want to come and pray with the Holy Father and the cardinals and bishops," Lombardi said.

"A lot of cardinals will be important. It is an important concelebration. It is will be the Holy Father's last major concelebration with the public present," he added.

Lombardi said the pope would also speak about his experiences during the reformist Second Vatican Council in the 1960s at an already scheduled meeting with parish priests from Rome on Thursday.

"This is an important moment, an embrace from the pope," he said.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  pope francis  |  vatican city  |  religion
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