At 5 p.m. Italy time, as is Rome tradition, church bells rang in unison to show closeness to the Roman Catholic Pontiff, but not before His Holiness paused to thank his followers on Twitter.
Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives.
Earlier in the day, before arriving at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict’s summer retreat and new home, he greeted 144 Cardinals who gathered in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall one last time, vowing obedience to his successor and exchanging a few words individually with each man present.
Among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience.
The world has never gotten to say goodbye to a Pope in almost 600 years and today history was witnessed as Pope Benedict XVI, thanked and blessed the crowd below him, during his final public appearance at Castel Gandolfo and bid farewell to Catholics worldwide during his final hours as pontiff.
Thank you, thank you from my heart. I am happy to be here with you surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your friendship that warms me. You know that today is different from others, as of eight pm I will no longer be the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman Church. I am a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth. But with all my interior strength, with all my heart, with all my love I will work for the good of the Church and all humanity.
At 8 p.m. his ring will be destroyed and Pope Benedict will have officially resigned from the Office of the Papacy, spiritual leader of the Catholic Church and retire to a secluded life of prayer and meditation within the Vatican Gardens.
Deirdre Haggerty, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC, DBA Examiner.com.