UPDATE: Bishop Releases Statement on Pope's Last Day

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Bishop David Malloy has released the following statement concerning Pope Benedict XVI's last day.

Bishop David J. Malloy’s statement:

“We pray in a very special way today for the great service and love given to us and the entire Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI. Our prayers will go with him as he enters a new life of service to the church in prayer and meditation.

And today we add to that prayer, our prayers for the Cardinals as they set about, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, choosing our next successor to St. Peter the Apostle.”

I have asked all Catholics of the Rockford Diocese to join the work in Rome by continuing to pray the words written by Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore:

"O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.
Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter's faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.
Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

This Prayer and other Papal transition resources can be found at www.rockforddiocese.org

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI has greeted the faithful for the last time as pope, telling well-wishers gathered at the Vatican's vacation retreat that he is beginning the final stage of his life as a "simple pilgrim," hours before he becomes the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

Benedict arrived at Castel Gandolfo after an emotional sendoff from the Vatican, where his closest aide wept by his side as he bade farewell to Vatican officials gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, Swiss Guards standing by at attention.

Bells tolled as he left the Vatican by helicopter and did a fly-by around St. Peter's Square. They tolled anew as he arrived in Castel Gandolfo, where the central piazza was jammed with people eager to capture the historic moment.

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