PH offers prayers following passing of former Pope Benedict
By Azer Parrocha
Pope Benedict XVI (photo courtesy of The Vatican website)
MANILA – The Philippines joins the world in offering prayers following the passing of former Pope Benedict XVI, who was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign from the post, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Saturday night.
On his official Twitter account, Marcos extended sympathies to the former pope’s loved ones.
“We are in deep sorrow upon learning of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI today. The Philippines is one in offering our prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. We keep his loved ones in our prayers,” he said.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, for its part, said it will “fondly remember” the former pope for being a “Pope of Charity.”
“If Pope Francis is known as the Pope of Mercy and Joy, Pope Benedict will be remembered as the Pope of Charity. He began his episcopacy with a profoundly theological encyclical entitled DEUS CARITAS EST (God is Love),” CBCP President and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement.
David said the former pope will be especially remembered as “a great theologian, catechist and musician.”
“He spent the last years of his life as an emeritus pope in solitude and contemplation, supporting the universal Church and Pope Francis spiritually with his prayers. Let us commend him to the Lord and pray for his eternal repose,” he added.
David also thanked Filipinos for accompanying him in prayer and offering special Mass intentions for his peaceful passage into eternal life.
Former pope Benedict, 95, died in a former monastery where he had lived since his resignation in 2013.
His body will be moved to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday allowing the public to pay their final respects, according to the Vatican.
His funeral will be held in St. Peter’s Square, in front of the basilica, on Thursday and will be presided over by Pope Francis.
He will be buried in the Vatican Grottoes, beneath the church, where his predecessors also lie. (with reports from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)
Pope Benedict XVI (photo courtesy of The Vatican