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Pope Francis to preside at Requiem Mass for Benedict XVI

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The Vatican has published the rite for the Requiem Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which will be celebrated on Thursday at 9:30 AM Rome time.

The booklet for the Mass is based largely on the Rite of Christian Burial of a Supreme Pontiff with several modifications.

Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, told reporters on Tuesday that some portions have been added, while others more relevant to the death of a reigning Pope have been taken out.

As an example, he said the supplications for the Diocese of Rome and the Oriental Churches have been removed.

Liturgical readings

Pope Francis will preside over the Requiem Mass, deliver the homily, and celebrate the Rites of Commendatio and Valedictio.

The Gospel passage for the liturgy comes from Luke (23:39-46), where Jesus, hanging on the Cross, tells one of the men condemned with Him that he will be with Him in paradise.

Jesus’ final words—“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”—are also recounted in the passage.

Those words are not so dissimilar to the last words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “Jesus, I love you.”

Burial details

Mr. Bruni also provided details of the objects which will be placed in the cypress-wood coffin with the late Pope Emeritus.

These include the episcopal Pallia—the pallium symbolizes a prelate’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction and special relationship with the Pope—as well as the commemorative coins and medals which were coined during his papacy, and the deed (“rogito” in Italian), a written text describing his pontificate, sealed in a metal cylinder.

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At the end of the Requiem Mass, the mortal remains of the Pope Emeritus will be taken to the Grottos under St. Peter’s Basilica, where his coffin will be put inside a zinc coffin, which in turn will be put inside a wooden case and buried.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be laid to rest in the tomb where St. John Paul II had been buried before his beatification.

Lying-in-state

The late Pope Emeritus continues to lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica, where the faithful can pay their respects from 7 AM to 7 PM on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday morning, over 100,000 pilgrims had made their way through the Basilica.

The Dicastery for Communication, with the support of the Knights of Columbus, is providing media facilities and audio-video links to ensure the worldwide broadcast of the Requiem Mass for the late Benedict XVI.

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