A giant screen under the statue of St. Peter, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, shows Pope Benedict XVI celebrating the Ash Wednesday Mass Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Starting his public farewell to his flock, a weary Benedict celebrated his final public Mass as pontiff hours after a bittersweet audience that produced the extraordinary scene of the pope explaining his decision to step down directly to the faithful.
Earlier Wednesday, the pope told thousands of faithful that he was resigning for “the good of the church."
Looking tired but serene, the 85-year-old Benedict basked in a standing ovation when he entered the packed hall for his traditional Wednesday catechism lesson. His speech was interrupted repeatedly by applause, and many in the audience of thousands had tears in their eyes.
— The Associated Press