Thursday, February 28, 2013

Benedict XVI on leaving Vatican: I am now a pilgrim entering last phase on Earth

February 28, 2013. ( It was the first time ever a Pope's farewell was televised live. Benedict XVI left his home inside the Vatican joined by cardinals Angelo Comastri and Agostino Vallini. At about 5 p.m., before getting in the car that would take him to the helicopter, he said goodbye to the staff at the Vatican.  

At 5:05 p.m., as the bells at St. Peter's Basilica rang out across the Square, the helicopter took off towards Castel Gandolfo. The ride took Benedict XVI across the Eternal City, taking a detour along some of the major landmarks, like the Colosseum and the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Upon arriving at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the bishop of Albano, as well as the town mayor.

A small caravan took him to the the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo at about 5:30 p.m. Thousands of pilgrims, donned with banners, thank you signs and flags, cheered on the last few words of Benedict XVI as Pope.

“I am simply a pilgrim that begins his last phase on this Earth. I would like to, with all my heart, my prayer and my reflection, with all the strength inside me, work for the common good and the good of the Church and humanity. I feel very supported by your sympathy. Lets move forward together, with the Lord, for the good of the Church and the world. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.”

At times, his speech was interrupted by thunderous applause and cheers in support. After giving them his blessing, Benedict XVI said goodbye. It was his last appearance as Pope.

He also said goodbye through Twitter, saying, “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives.”

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