Bells rang out on Thursday afternoon in the Arts District of Downtown Dallas to mark the passing of an iconic religious leader.
Organ music played a somber tune inside the Cathedral Shine of the Virgin of Guadalupe as parishioners gathered to honor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
A large photograph of the former pope was visible to the right of the altar, and pamphlets handed out at the beginning of the mass also contained Benedict’s likeness.
Bishop Edward Burns presided over the mass, joined by a number of concelebrants. During the homily, Burns gave a memorial eulogy to Benedict while stressing the importance of the tradition of the Catholic Church and the papacy.
“There is only one Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church,” Burns said. “And with that, do we understand that connectedness and the need to stay connected to the successor of St. Peter. Because this church is built on a rock. … It was Jesus that gave Peter the keys of the kingdom. If you ever look at depictions of Peter, Peter will always have symbols of keys in his hands.”
Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. He was the first pope to resign from the papacy in more than 600 years. He was laid to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday.
One parishioner told The Dallas Express that she felt the homily was fitting for Benedict XVI because, even though his tenure was short, he led the church with dignity and in keeping with Catholic traditions.
Pope Benedict resigned in 2013 because of failing health. He had been elected in 2005, succeeding Pope John Paul II.
“Both strength of mind and body are necessary, strengths which in the last few months have deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” Benedict said at the time of his resignation.
Burns, flanked by other priests and at least one other bishop, spoke of how the pope chose his name in honor of Pope Benedict XV, who tried to establish peace among nations during World War I. Prior to being elected to the papacy, Benedict was known as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger.
“He taught the truth, and he did it well,” Burns said. “He served the Lord and he shepherded the Church.”