Mass for Pope Benedict scheduled

Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 4:04 p.m.

Bishop Felipe J. EstÚvez of the Diocese of St. Augustine will celebrate a special Mass at 7 a.m. Friday in the Cathedral Basilica, 38 Cathedral Place, St. Augustine. The Mass will be in thanksgiving for the papal ministry of Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation as Supreme Pontiff on Monday.

Friday is the Catholic Church’s feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which commemorates the biblical passage in the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus symbolically bestows the “keys of the kingdom” to Peter. The Catholic Church holds that those who have held the papal office in an unbroken line of succession through the centuries continue the mission that Christ gave to St. Peter.

“Since the feast focuses on the ministry of the successor of Peter the Apostle, it is a most appropriate day for the faithful of North Florida to gather and give thanks to God for Benedict’s leadership of the church over the past eight years,” EstÚvez said in a press release.

Pope Benedict officially steps down as spiritual head of the world’s more than 1 billion Catholics on Feb. 28. The process to elect his successor is expected to begin in mid-March.

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