- Title: VATICAN: Pilgrims arrive at Vatican to show solidarity with Pope
- Date: 11th February 2013
- Summary: VATICAN CITY (FEBRUARY 11, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS PILGRIMS CARRYING LARGE WOODEN CROSS ARRIVING IN ST. PETER'S SQUARE PILGRIMS SINGING AS THEY ENTER ST. PETER'S SQUARE PILGRIM HOLDING BOOK WITH TITLE READING "He is alive!" VARIOUS PILGRIMS CARRYING WOODEN CROSS ARRIVING IN ST. PETER'S SQUARE (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH PILGRIM, CECILLE, SAYING: "I want to pray for the Pope and first I want to thank God for all the grace he gave to the Church during his pontificate and I want to pray to the Church to ask the Holy Spirit to work on the Catholic Church during the next few intense weeks that are going to happen." PILGRIMS WITH WOODEN CROSS OUTSIDE ST. PETER'S BASILICA
- Embargoed: 26th February 2013 12:00
- Location: Vatican City State
- Country: Vatican City State
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA5NVJN68T2E1QTV1OV0I6AL22L
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Pope Benedict shocked the world and left his closest aides "incredulous" on Monday (February 11), saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church and would become the first pontiff in more than 700 years to resign instead of reigning for life.
In a dramatic and history-making announcement read to cardinals in Latin, the pope renounced his position as head of the Catholic Church.
As the news filtered out visitors and pilgrims started arriving in St. Peter's Square to show solidarity with the Pontiff.
French visitor Cecille arrived with other pilgrims who were carrying a large wooden cross towards the square, while singing.
"I want to pray for the Pope and first I want to thank God for all the grace he gave to the Church during his pontificate and I want to pray to the Church to ask the Holy Spirit to work on the Catholic Church during the next few intense weeks that are going to happen," said Cecille.
Vatican officials said Benedict, 85, would officially step down at 2000 (1900 GMT) on February 28, and would first go to the papal summer residence south of Rome and then move into a cloistered convent inside the Vatican walls.
A new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics could be elected as soon as Palm Sunday, on March 24 and be ready to take over by Easter a week later.
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