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Memphians gather for Holy Hour to remember Pope Benedict XVI

The Holy Hour was held Wednesday evening at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Catholic Diocese of Memphis hosted Holy Hour Wednesday to remember the late Pope Benedict XVI. 

The event, held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, included a prayer for the dead and a Holy Hour in front a portrait of the late church leader, who died on Dec. 31. 

Pope Benedict XVI served as the head of the Catholic Church from 2005 to his surprising resignation in 2013. He was succeeded by Pope Francis, who presided over his funeral mass in Rome Thursday.

Some 200,000 paid tribute to Benedict during three days of public viewing in St. Peter’s Basilica, with one of the last ones Friar Rosario Vitale, who spent an hour praying by his body. He said Benedict had given him a special dispensation to begin the process of becoming a priest, which was required because of a physical disability. 

Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger, is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest theologians and spent his lifetime upholding church doctrine. But he will go down in history for a singular, revolutionary act that changed the future of the papacy: He retired, the first pope in six centuries to do so.

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