As scheduled, Pope Francis led Vespers and the praying of the Te Deum (the traditional prayer thanking and praising God) in St. Peter’s on the evening of December 31, just some hours after the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
In his homily, Pope Francis focused on kindness.
“And speaking of kindness,” he said, “our thoughts go spontaneously to our most beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left us this morning.”
With emotion, we recall him — so noble, so kind. And we feel so much gratitude in our hearts: Gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world, gratitude to him, for all the good he has done, and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his life in recollection. Only God knows the value and power of his intercession, of his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church.
A prayer was also said for Benedict XVI during the liturgy.