The Straits Times
Published on Feb 13, 2013

Pope to make first appearance since resignation shock


VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Thousands of the faithful will flock into St. Peter's Square on Wednesday to bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI at his first public appearance since the shock announcement of his resignation.

The 85-year-old Benedict, who said on Monday that he would step down on February 28 because of his advancing age, will hold a general audience from his window overlooking the square at 0930 GMT (5.30pm Singapore time).

He will then celebrate an Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at 1400 GMT, his last public mass and one of his last engagements as pope.

The mass is traditionally held in the Santa Sabina Church on Rome's Aventine Hill.