A Guide to the Funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict By Reuters

© Reuters. Preparations for the funeral of former Pope Benedict are active outside St. Peter’s Basilica, while the former Pope’s body is laid to rest in the Basilica, in the Vatican January 4, 2023. REUTERS /Kai Pfaffenbach

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis will preside over a funeral Mass in St Peter’s Square on Thursday for his predecessor Pope Benedict, who died on Saturday at the age of 95.

More than 60,000 people are expected to attend. There will be official delegations from Italy and Germany, Benedict’s hometown. Other leaders, including the king and queen of Belgium and about 13 heads of state or government, will attend in private. Most countries will be represented by their ambassadors to the Vatican.

Here’s a guide to what’s expected to happen:


After his burial Wednesday night, Benedict XVI’s body was placed in a sealed cypress sarcophagus in the presence of several close aides, such as his longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and other members. of the household where he lived after he resigned as pope in 2013, the first pope to do so in 600 years.

Papal items such as vestments representing his papacy and bishopric are placed inside the coffin, along with coins and medals minted during his pontificate. There is also a lead tube with a deed in Latin listing the main points of his pontificate.

At 8:45 a.m. (07:45 GMT), the so-called papal patrons carried the coffin out of the basilica and placed it on the steps facing St Peter’s Square. The faithful will pray the Rosary for about 45 minutes.


The funeral Mass presided over by Pope Francis will begin at 9:30 a.m. (08:30 GMT). At first, the pope will sit in front of the coffin facing the crowd. The Sistine Chapel choir will begin singing with the entrance ceremony.

The pope would then move to a chair at the side of the altar and preside from there, sitting most of the time because his knee pain prevented him from standing for too long. The celebrant standing at the altar will be Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the College of Cardinals.

Pope Francis will give a homily during the Mass, which will be co-celebrated by 120 cardinals, 400 bishops and nearly 4,000 priests.

At the end of Mass, Pope Francis will say “Last Praise and Farewell” to ask God to “consolve the Church”.

The liturgy for the funeral Mass is largely based on the rite reserved for a pope who died while reigning, with some slight modifications, especially in some prayers and readings.

A prayer will include invocations to God for both Benedict and Francis.

Near the end of Mass, Pope Francis will sprinkle holy water on the coffin and burn incense.

He will say in Latin: “Good Father, we entrust to the mercy of You Pope Emeritus Benedict, whom you have chosen to be the successor of Peter and pastor of the Church, a fearless preacher of My word and a faithful minister of divine mysteries.”

The choir will then sing in Latin: “May the angels lead you into heaven; may the martyrs come to greet you and lead you into the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.”


The coffin-bearers would then carry the cypress coffin back to the basilica for a private ceremony, during which the coffin would be sealed and wrapped in ribbons.

It will then be placed in a zinc casket, which will be sealed. The two will then go into a larger wooden coffin.

Benedict will then be buried according to his wishes at the same location in the crypt under St Peter’s Basilica, where Pope John Paul II was originally interred in 2005 before his body was transferred. to a chapel in the basilica in 2011.

The burial will also be a private service.

(This story has been omitted unnecessary words in paragraph 2)

Source by [author_name]


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