The Pope’s final public Mass: Ash Wednesday at St. Peter’s Basilica

Yesterday, our beloved Holy Father celebrated his last public Mass as Pope – fittingly, at the main altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, below which lie the mortal remains of St. Peter, the first Pope.

We’ll be sure to share selections from his homily later this week, as soon as it is translated into English.

There were many moving moments in this final public liturgy celebrated by the Holy Father.  One such moment was a short address at the conclusion of Mass by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the current Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See, who thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his great gift of his life to the Church:

As Mass concluded and the choir began a beautiful rendition of Palestrina’s “Tu es Petrus (You are Peter)”, the Holy Father kissed the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica a final time and began his recessional down the main aisle, to the sound of thunderous applause from the faithful present.  The recessional in its entirety is a bit long (seven minutes), but a historic moment to watch:

 

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