Pope Benedict XVI greets a crowd gathered for his arrival in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Feb. 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
his last public appearance as pope, Benedict XVI said a few words to the crowds
assembled outside Castel Gandolfo, where he is expected to reside for the next
several months before moving to a monastery in the Vatican.
his balcony, Pope
Thank you, thank you from my heart. I am happy to be here
with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your friendship that does me
so much good, thank you for your friendship, for caring.
You know that today is different from others… as
of eight pm I will no longer be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I
will simply be a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on
But with my heart, my love, my prayer, with all my
inner strength, I will work for the common good and the good of the Church and
And I feel greatly supported by your affection. Let us move
forward together with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.
I will now impart upon you all my Apostolic Blessing. Thank
you and good night. Thank you all!