Vatican City, Zenit news Agency
"A heartfelt thanks! I am truly moved! And I see the Church alive!"
These were the opening words of thanks given by Pope Benedict to his general audience of over 150,000 pilgrims today as he bids a final farewell. His resignation will take effect tomorrow on Feb. 28.
The pilgrims greeted him with shouts of "Benedetto" and "Viva il Papa" (Long live the Pope) as he circled the crowd in his popemobile.
In his address he also said, "At this time, I feel great trust, because I know, all of us know, that the Word of the Truth of the Gospel is the strength of the Church, it is life. The Gospel purifies and renews, it bears fruit, wherever the community of believers listens and receives the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my trust. This is my joy."
He ended his address saying, "Dear friends! God guides His Church, he sustains her always and especially at difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, may there always be the joyous certainty that the Lord is near us, he does not abandon us, he is near us and surrounds us with his love. Thank you!
You may find the entire translation of Pope Benedict's farewell here: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-benedict-i-am-not-abandoning-the-cross-but-remain-in-a-new-way-with-the-crucified-lord