The Mass in Adelaide, which will be celebrated by Vicar General Fr Dean Marin, will be held only a short time before Pope Benedict’s Requiem Mass is set to take place in St Peter’s Square, Rome.
Beginning at 9.30am Rome time, Pope Francis will become the first pope in modern history to preside as Pope at the funeral of his predecessor. Benedict XVI will then be laid to rest, as he requested, in the Grottoes beneath the Basilica, in the tomb where St John Paul II had been buried before his beatification.
Heads of state, other dignitaries, cardinals, bishops and religious are expected to travel from all over the world to attend the funeral of the late Pope, who died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 95. He had been living in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican since his resignation in 2013.
In a statement to local Catholics on January 1, Archbishop Patrick O’Regan said he was saddened to hear of the death of Pope Benedict, who he said would be remembered for his gifts to the Church.
“Among his many gifts to the Church, two stand out: first his contribution as a theologian. From seminary days I remember being inspired by the clarity and inspiration of his writings,” Archbishop O’Regan said.
“In speaking of the last three popes it has often been said that people came to see Pope John Paul II; to listen to Benedict XVI and to be with Pope Francis.
“Pope Benedict’s series of books on Jesus are remarkable. His encyclicals, especially Saved in Hope in 2007 spoke deeply to the Church and the world about what hope is all about.
“The second, and his most prophetic act was his decision to resign from the office of Bishop of Rome. In a celebrity-obsessed world he showed that it wasn’t about him, but rather like John the Baptist he always pointed to Jesus who is the head of the Church.
“We mourn his death and give thanks for him showing us the hopeful face of Christ in an often troubled world. May he rest in peace.”
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, said Pope Benedict would long be remembered fondly in Australia as the Pontiff who led young people from around the globe in prayer at World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.
“From his time as an expert adviser – or peritus – at the Second Vatican Council onwards, there was no question that Joseph Ratzinger was a major figure within the Church around the world,” said Archbishop Costelloe.
“His papacy will be remembered as one of rich teaching, including his encyclicals on love, hope and truth, as well as his book series Jesus of Nazareth, and for important reforms in areas like liturgy and in the handling of child sexual abuse.”
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, the bishop who oversaw World Youth Day in 2008, said Pope Benedict had been a key influence and someone with whom he became close.
“I had the great privilege of spending some private moments with Pope Benedict, away from the spotlight,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“They were moments I will forever cherish. He had a great intellect, which he shared through his work as a professor, a Church leader and ultimately as Pope.”
Archbishop Fisher said he was very grateful to spend some time with Pope Benedict during his visits to Rome.
“Reminiscing about his time in Australia and learning from this gentle father figure was a real joy,” he said.Jump to next article