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Thousands Gather in St. Peter’s Basilica as Benedict XVI’s Body Lies in State …

Thousands Gather in St. Peter’s Basilica as Benedict XVI’s Body Lies in State …

The former pope was dressed in red and gold vestments and wearing a gold miter. Popes are traditionally dressed in red for their funerals. 

Benedict XVI had his rosary in his folded hands. He was wearing ordinary black clerical shoes, not the red shoes he famously wore during his reign.

Thousands of people waited in a long line on Jan. 2 to enter the basilica, some waiting before sunrise, to pray and pay their respects to Benedict XVI, who led the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013.

Giancarlo Rossi, who lives in Rome, joined the line at 7:45 a.m. He was praying a rosary for Benedict while waiting for the opportunity to pay his respects.

“I met him a few times — I am from here. And so I came to greet the pope for the last time,” he told CNA. “And I am praying for him. I offered my Mass for him and I will ask for a plenary indulgence for him, as well.”

Father Alexander Lashuk, a Byzantine Catholic priest from Toronto, another early arrival, told CNA that the line to see the late pope “was the usual Roman chaos, but when you entered St. Peter’s it turned into a great hush.”

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