Pope’s Farewell Angelus: I will not abandon the Church, I will serve in a different way.

Some came with banners to thank the Pope and be part of history. With only days left as Pope, Benedict XVI clearly spoke about his retirement. In Italian he said, “Dear brothers and sisters…The Lord is calling me ‘to climb the mountain’ to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation, but this does not mean I’m abandoning the Church. In fact, if God is asking this of me, it is so I can continue serving the Church with the same dedication and love with which I have served so far, but in a way that’s more suited for my age and strength.We will always be close in prayer”.

This was Pope Benedict XVI’s parting message during his last Angelus address. At noon according to NEWS.VA the canons sounded from the Janiculum Hill and the great bells of St Peter’s basilica rang out. And as the curtains were drawn from his study windows and the red papal banner unfurled, the ocean of pilgrims waiting below erupted.

This Angelus was the Pope’s first public appearance, following a spiritual retreat which ended on Saturday. On Monday he will meet with Cardinals of the Roman Curia and on Wednesday, he will celebrate his last General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.