Mass in memory of Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica one year after the pontiff’s death. Joseph Ratzinger’s historic secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, celebrated the ceremony at the Altar of the Chair. Among the concelebrants, who number around sixty, there are also cardinals Gerhard Mueller and Kurt Koch. Several hundred faithful were present.
In his homily, Gaenswein stated that Benedict XVI is a “luminous example” and that “we also remain united with Benedict XVI, sincerely grateful to God for the gift of his life, the richness of his magisterium, the depth of his theology and the shining example of this ‘simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord'”, quoting the words that the pontiff himself spoke at the moment of his election. Gaeswein gave the homily, pausing a couple of times with emotion.
Greetings from Pope Francis
“One year ago Pope Benedict XVI concluded his earthly journey, after having served the Church with love and wisdom. We feel for him so much affection, so much gratitude, so much admiration. From Heaven, may he bless us and accompany us”. Pope Francis said this at the Angelus, asking the faithful in St. Peter’s Square for “applause” for Ratzinger.
On the Chair of Peter from 19 April 2005 to 28 February 2013, Benedict XVI passed away at the age of 95, in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, in the Vatican, where he had chosen to reside after renouncing the ministry of bishop of Rome announced on 11 February 2013. The news of the death, given by the Press Office of the Holy See on the morning of the last day of 2022, while the Church was preparing to celebrate the first Vespers of the solemnity of Mary Mother of God, immediately went around the world . In the homily pronounced in the Vatican Basilica, during the Te Deum, Francis’ words for the “dearest Pope Emeritus”, a noble and kind person. “We feel so much gratitude in our hearts – he said with emotion -, gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him, for all the good he has done, and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of a retired life”.
The last farewell
After the news of his death, thousands wanted to pay their final farewell to the Pope Emeritus, first in the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery for those closest to him, then from 2 to 4 January the homage moved to St. Peter’s Basilica, which saw the visit of over 200 thousand faithful. The funeral took place on January 5, in St. Peter’s Square crowded with 50 thousand people. Around 130 cardinals, 400 bishops and almost 3,700 priests concelebrated with Francis. The coverage of the funeral also saw the presence of 1,600 journalists accredited at the Holy See Press Office, while 200 broadcasters were connected. Benedict XVI’s body was then buried in the Vatican Grottoes, in the same place where John Paul II was buried, having been moved to the Basilica in 2011.