(Your last chance for a personal pilgrimage to see the Pope)
On 11 February 2013, the Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world with the announcement of his resignation from his post – making him the first pope to resign in 600 years; or in other words 6 centuries! The pope told the faithful that he had made his decision “in full freedom for the good of the church”; aware of his own declining physical strength needed to carry out the duties of the papacy.
First Papal Audience after the Announcement
On 13 February ‘13, thousands of enthusiastic, faithful crowd greeted Benedict at the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall to hear the Holy Father speak—for the first time—since his announcement of the resignation two days before.
A huge banner at the rear of the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall proclaimed “Thanks Your Holiness.”
Significance of the Last Papal Audience: And the life-after for the Pope
The Pope will hold one more Wednesday audience before he retires. Vatican officials say that the 85-year-old will continue with his diary as usual until the day he officially retires at 8 p.m. on 27 February.
Benedict is expected to keep a low public profile thereafter. As such, this last appearance as pontiff is expected to draw large crowds for what may well be some of the last speeches by a man who has spent his life – teaching and preaching – as a priest, a cardinal and a pope.
And once retired, he will live a life of prayer in a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens.
NOTE: The Audience is not a Mass. It is a time for pilgrims and visitors to greet and listen to the Pope. Also it is advisable to get your vatican tickets sorted before you reach the place, in order to avoid disappointment.
DRESS CODE: Dress appropriately (meaning – no shorts or sleeveless shirts) and don’t bring backpacks or knapsacks.
DETAILS: Pope Benedict XVI's last General Audience will be Wednesday, February 27, at 10:30 AM, in St. Peter's Square.