Pope’s last mass
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Hundreds gathered in Providence to pray for outgoing Pope Benedict XVI today, the final day of his pontificate, with the head of Rhode Island’s Catholics calling him a pilgrim, prophet and bridge-builder.
At a special noontime Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence called the pope’s retirement a “historic and humble and courageous move,” saying the pontiff had resigned because of his love for the church.
“He’s been a wonderful priest and bishop and pope and we’re all grateful for that,” Tobin said.
Tobin offered prayers for the man who will be known as the pope emeritus after stepping down for what he said were health reasons. Benedict has been pope since 2005 and is the first pope in 600 years to resign.
The church was filled to capacity with everyone from children in Catholic school uniforms to professionals in suits. Rhode Island is one of the country’s most Catholic states.