By Mirembe Martina
Over 50, 000 people are expected to attend Pope Benedict’s final audience which is going to take place today in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope held his last service last week, Sunday ahead of his Thursday 28th official resignation.
The audience was originally going to be held in the Vatican Hall but due to the huge numbers of people who are expected to attend, it will be held in St. Peter’s square. According to the Vatican, over 50,000 people have bought tickets to attend the Pope’s last audience and farewell.
He will appear in his trademark white “popemobile” to greet pilgrims in the Square although there will be no traditional kissing of the pontiff’s hand because of the number of people expected. “He doesn’t want to favour one or the other of the pilgrims,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
After today’s ceremony, the pope will wait for tomorrow to step down officially as the search for the next pope continues. At precisely 8pm (Rome time) the villa gates at Castel Gandolfo will close and the Swiss Guard will withdraw – a symbol that Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy is over.
At the moment, people have already started gathering at St. Peter’s square ahead of the audience.