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    Posted February 27, 2013 by
    Rome, Italy
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Catholics: Your views on new pope

    More from joelsdb

    On His Last Public Audience


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Filipino priest joelsdb was in the crowd for the Pope's final audience ahead of his resignation on Thursday. "The atmosphere was very warm, I really felt that the Pope felt the love from the crowd," he said. "It was very emotional, as it marks the last time we will see him as Pope."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    "The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope."

    These were among Pope Benedict XVI's words today in his last general audience as pope. It was a gathering more emotional than usual, even if it took the same format as previous audiences which always began with the Pope leading the sign of the cross, followed by a reading from Scripture done in the major languages (today, in French, English, German, Spanish, Protuguese, Arabic, Polish and Italian) and then the Pope's reflection on the reading. He then would greet the pilgrims in these representative languages. The audience concluded with the singing of the Pater Noster (the "Our Father" in Latin) and the solemn blessing of the people.

    Today, for several times as he delivered his message, the Pope had to pause because of spontaneous applause from the people. The support for the Pontiff was felt in the spontaneous gestures and the number of people who witnessed this last public act. Saint Peter's Square was jumpacked. People were queueing to enter the square as early as 6:30 in the morning, four hours before the scheduled audience. It was unprecedented--an audience that was scheduled as the last public address. And the people showed up. Beside the sadness that many felt, the atmosphere in the piazza was festive. They were chanting the Pope's name and shouting "Viva il Papa!" It was a farewell party, a toast to a spiritual leader.

    I have shared the photos that I have taken with family and friends who are far away and many of them are teary eyed when they look at the images. This, plus the overwhelming support that I saw from people of various nations, just shows that the papacy of this silent theologian, even in its brevity, had a lot of spiritual impact on people.
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