Pope Benedict XVI greeted the faithful for the last time as pope Thursday, telling well-wishers gathered at the Vatican's vacation retreat that he is beginning the final stage of his life as "simply a pilgrim," hours before he becomes the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. The local church says it's a moment in history.
The effects of the pope's resignation will be felt throughout the Catholic community. Local churches will observe the pope's retirement the moment he steps down, then await the moment a new pope is selected.
"One o'clock, the Bishop of Mobile has asked that the bells be silence. They will be rung one more time at 1 p.m. At 1 p.m., they'll be silenced in honor of both the Holy Father and service, and of course we will await the pope to be elected," said Father Jim Cink.
"It's a momentous event. It's over 600 years since we last had a pope resign. Today we will see history made. The Holy Father will step down and then in just a few days, we'll have a new pontiff elected. The Holy Father will be called by a new name and the church will rejoice that the Seat of Peter is now filled again," added Cink.
Local 15's Modupe Idowu will have more on this story at 5 and 6.