Pope marks New Year as Vatican prepares to mourn Benedict

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed for his predecessor’s passage to heaven as he presided over a particular New Year’s Day Mass Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica, a day after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died in retirement on the Vatican.

The massive basilica will host Benedict’s coffin beginning on Monday. 1000’s of devoted are anticipated to file by the coffin on the primary of three days of viewing.

Benedict, 95, died Saturday morning within the Vatican the place he had lived since retirement. He was the primary pope in centuries to resign, citing his growing frailty.

Francis appeared weary and sat along with his head bowed as Mass started on the primary day of the yr, an event the Catholic church dedicates to the theme of peace.

He departed briefly from studying his homily, with its emphasis on hope and peace, to wish aloud for Benedict.

“Today we entrust to our Blessed Mother our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, so that she may accompany him in his passage from this world to God,” he mentioned.

The pontiff will lead Benedict’s funeral on Thursday in St. Peter’s Sq.. That ceremony might be a easy one, the Vatican has mentioned, consistent with the desires of Benedict, who for many years as a German cardinal had served because the Church’s guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy earlier than he was elected pope in 2005.

Within the final years, Francis has hailed Benedict’s gorgeous resolution to grow to be the primary pope to resign in 600 years and has made clear he’d contemplate such a step as an choice for himself.

Hobbled by knee ache, Francis, 86, on Sunday arrived within the basilica in a wheelchair, earlier than taking his place in a chair for the Mass, which was being celebrated by the Vatican’s secretary of state.

Francis, who has repeatedly decried the warfare in Ukraine and its devastation, recalled those that are victims of warfare, passing the year-end holidays in darkness, chilly and worry.

“At the beginning of this year, we need hope, just as the Earth needs rain,” Francis mentioned.

Nicole Winfield contributed from the Vatican.

Extra on the demise of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI: https://apnews.com/hub/pope-benedict-xvi

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