Dear Holy Father: Goodbye, and God Bless!

BXVI - Farewell photo

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Pope Benedict’s New Digs

A breathtaking view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, seen from the rear of the Vatican Gardens

By now you’ve probably seen this picture:It’s the Mater Ecclesiae—the former convent inside the walls of Vatican City where Pope Benedict will reside in quiet prayer.Four times in the last decade, it has been my privilege to lead a group tour through the Vatican Gardens, where the Mater Ecclesiae is located.  I remember its story:  The residence has been occupied by a community of cloistered sisters whose mission was to tend a small garden, help with some domestic tasks, and pray for the … [Read more...]

Pope Benedict’s Final General Audience Draws 150,000

Pope Benedict - audience

“I’m moved.  When I see you, I see the Church is alive.”These were the words of Pope Benedict XVI this morning, as he spoke extemporaneously to the 150,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his final General Audience.Pope Benedict seems a shy, private person, and being so constantly in the public eye must have been difficult for him.  When he was elected in 2005, he said, his heart asked, “Lord, why do you ask me this?  What do you ask of me?”  Being pope means not having any pr … [Read more...]