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The funeral chapel of Benedict XVI opens: faithful line up to say their last goodbye


Hundreds of people waited early this Monday to enter the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica and bid farewell to the pope emeritus. Some 35,000 people are expected to attend during the three days that the chapel will remain open.

EFE.- The funeral chapel of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on December 31 at the age of 95, opened this Monday at 9:00 in the morning (local time) for the last goodbye of the faithful, hundreds of who have been waiting in line since the early hours of the morning to enter the Basilica of Saint Peter and bid farewell to the pontiff.

The exhibition of the mortal remains of Benedict XVI, which will remain open until 7:00 pm, was installed in the central nave of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, in front of the so-called altar of confession, next to Bernini's famous canopy.

The remains were transferred there from the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where the pope emeritus resided since his historic resignation in February 2013 and where this Sunday they were watched over by friends, citizens and Vatican workers, as well as by cardinals and members of the Curia.

People waiting to enter St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, to see the late Pope Benedict XVI, Monday, January 2, 2023. Alessandra Tarantino / AP

Before opening the funeral chapel in the basilica, a private liturgy was celebrated with the cardinals and those closest to the pontiff and among those present was the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.

The first faithful to enter to say goodbye to Benedict XVI, at whose side was his faithful secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein and the Italian Cardinal Mauro Maria Gambetti, crowded before the remains, remained in front of them for a few minutes and immortalized them with their mobiles.


35,000 people are expected to come to say their last goodbye

to Benedict XVI during the three days that the chapel will remain open, while up to 60,000 will be present at his funeral, which

Pope Francis will preside over next Thursday,

also in the Plaza de San Peter of the Vatican, according to the estimates of the Prefecture of Rome.

The body of Benedict XVI rests in a funeral chapel this Sunday.Vatican Pool / Getty Images

At 6:00 this morning there were already

hundreds of people waiting to enter

and the queue is expected to increase during the day, when the tourists and onlookers present these days in the Italian capital join, for which reason the security measures in the area with a police presence and the closure to traffic of some streets adjacent to Via della Conciliazione.

The first positions in line to enter the basilica were occupied by priests who were theology students in Rome from India who explained to EFE that they got up early to say goodbye to what they consider to be the greatest theologian of recent centuries after Saint Augustine.

Although they are very young and have not lived his pontificate to the full, they said that they "had studied all his texts" and, in addition to "being pope, they had great admiration for Ratzinger as a great theologian."

Pope Francis remembered Benedict XVI in the Vatican

Jan 2, 202302:07

Also, many nuns were already in line since the early hours of the morning, as well as numerous Romans who wanted to come closer before getting back to work to greet the pope emeritus.

Joseph Ratzinger rested in the Mater Ecclessiae chapel decorated with a Nativity scene and a Christmas tree and was dressed in the pontifical vestments, the red chasuble over the white tunic, as well as the miter on his head.

But in the first photos released this Sunday, he was not wearing the pallium, the white wool stole that is worn on the shoulders and that, with the Fisherman's Ring, represents one of the powers of the seat of Peter, since it was the one that he resigned in 2013.

In the early hours of Sunday afternoon, the word spread that Pope Francis could go to the Mater Ecclesiae to give the last greeting to the German pope and citizens and religious headed through the Vatican gardens to the monastery where they were directly received by their historic secretary.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates mass during his pastoral visit to his native Bavaria in Altoetting, Germany, on September 11, 2006.Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Gänswein was very saddened by the death of Benedict XVI, of whom he was a great friend and advisor, and assured the people who gave him their condolences that "he will miss him very much."

It was his idea to freely open the funeral chapel in the Mater Ecclesiae so that from Sunday those closest to him could say their last goodbye.

The basilica will remain open for ten hours on Monday, but that hours will increase on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the faithful will be able to pass before the body of the deceased pope from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.

On Thursday at 9:30 am his successor, Francis, will preside over the funeral in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of faithful and official delegations from Italy and Ratzinger's native Germany.

Other authorities may attend in their personal capacity.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-02

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