Farewell to Benedict XVI: ‘Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord'
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Father’s House.
The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Petrine ministry in 2013.
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible. As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter's Basilica so the faithful can pay their respects."
News of worsening health condition
Already for several days, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus had worsened due to advancing age, as the Press Office had reported in its updates of the evolving situation.
Pope Francis himself publicly shared the news about his predecessor's worsening health at the end of the last General Audience of the year, on 28 December.
The Pope had invited people to pray for the Pope Emeritus, who was "very ill," so that the Lord might console him and support him "in this witness of love for the Church until the end."
Following this invitation, prayer initiatives sprung up and multiplied on all continents, along with an outpouring of messages of solidarity and closeness from secular leaders.
During a briefing at the Holy See Press office at midday, the director, Matteo Bruni, told journalists that Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of the Pope Emeritus on 5 January at 9.30 CET in St. Peter's Square.
He added that as from Monday, the body of Benedict XVI will be lying in state in the Basilica so that the faithful who wish to do so may pay their last respects with prayers and a final farewell.
Bruni also said the Pope Emeritus on Wednesday, 28th in the afternoon, received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the monastery at the end of Holy Mass.
And speaking to reporters after the briefing he said Benedict specifically asked that everything - including the funeral - be marked by simplicity, just as he lived his life.