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Memorials set around Baton Rouge as Pope Benedict is laid to rest an ocean away

3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago Thursday, January 05 2023 Jan 5, 2023 January 05, 2023 8:43 AM January 05, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - St Joseph's Cathedral is holding a memorial Mass in honor of Pope Benedict XVI hours after his funeral service. 

The ceremony will commence at noon at the cathedral on Main Street. Thousands gathered at the Vatican shortly after Pope Benedict's funeral was held at midnight at St Peter's Basilica in Italy. 

The Baton Rouge Catholic Diocese says remembrance ceremonies will continue right here in the capital city, just days after Benedict's death on New Year's Eve. 

"It's always a surprise when someone finally passes," Bishop Michael Duca with the Diocese said. "It was the end of an era in many ways because he was part of that whole generation that lived through World War II, the remaking of Europe, and also the Vatican counsel, and so he was one of the last of our leaders that was created through all that time."

Duca had the opportunity to meet the late Pope during his trip to the Vatican, where he was gifted a cross by Benedict, something he wears often.

"I also had a chance to meet with him, during our limited visit in 2011. We went over to visit and during that time, me and the bishops of Louisiana had about an hour visit with him personally, a very soft-spoken man. He really was someone who sought to conserve the truth of the church, when we sat down and talked to him we each had a question and he answered it directly, creatively."

Benedict was the only Pope to retire in the last 600 years, which happened in 2013 after his health began to decline. Duca says his mind and his teachings stayed sharp.

"He had a fine mind, and we're going to miss him. He was a great addition to the church, but also a mind that was able to open up, in many ways, the beauty of this world and the challenges that face us."

Duca went on to say Benedict had a way of emphasizing necessary change while instilling faith in many. 

"As we more and more began to question what is really the truth, what is really the things that we ground our life, we kind of break apart some of the great foundations of civilization, and he knew that would be a great challenge going forward, even in the church.

"He pointed a way forward with warnings, but also hope, and I always believe if you really want to know Pope Benedict you have to listen and read into his thought."

Benedict was laid to rest in the grotto underneath the Vatican, where more than 90 Popes have been laid to rest. 

Thursday's commemoration at St Joseph's is open to anyone looking to honor the late Pope Benedict XVI. 

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