By Mirembe Martina
Pope Benedict XVI is going to officially step down today and the conclave is going to meet to start the election of a new pope as soon as possible.
Yesterday, the pope issued his last address at St. Peter’s Square to a crowd of more than 150,000 people who had gone to be part of history. Pope Benedict is the first pope in 600 years to resign.
He will travel by helicopter to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo in South Rome where he will live out the rest of his days in the new monastery in prayer and meditation.
To signify his retirement, the villa gates at Castel Gandolfo will close and the Swiss Guard will withdraw – a symbol that Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy is over.
While giving the last speech yesterday at St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said, “There were moments of joy and light but also moments that were not easy … there were moments, as there were throughout the history of the Church, when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us and it seemed that the Lord was sleeping.”