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Pope Francis at a memorial Mass on Friday at St Peter’s Basilica for Pope Benedict XVI, cardinals and bishops who have died over the past year (CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis celebrated a memorial Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday for Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal George Pell and the other five cardinals and 147 bishops who died over the past year. Source: CNS.

“The Lord was the centre of their lives,” Pope Francis said at the Mass. “This is Christian humility, which is not simply one virtue among others, but the basic disposition of life: believing ourselves to be in need of God, making room for him and putting all our trust in him.”

Cardinal Pell, who was a former prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, died in January in Rome at the age of 81. He died shortly after Pope Benedict, 95, who died on December 31, 2022.

The Lord is compassionate and “is moved by death, the greatest cause of our suffering,” Pope Francis said. “How important it is to communicate that same look of compassion to all those who grieve for the death of their loved ones!”

The Lord is especially compassionate and close to orphans, widows and “strangers,” those who are “most alone and forsaken, having no one else to trust but God”, the Pope said.

Pope Francis recalled “the very first words with which Pope Benedict described himself following his election: ‘a humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord.’”

“Indeed, Christians, especially the pope, the cardinals and the bishops, are called to be humble labourers: to serve, not to be served and to put the fruits of the Lord’s vineyard before their own advantage,” he said. “What a fine thing it is to renounce ourselves for the Church of Jesus!”

“Let us pray for our beloved, departed brethren. Their hearts were pastoral, compassionate and humble, for the Lord was the centre of their lives,” he said. “In him may they find eternal peace.”


Jesus loves those who put their trust in him, pope says at memorial Mass (By Carol Glatz, CNS via USCCB)