Watch EWTN’s coverage of the funeral Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI / EWTN

Vatican City, Jan 5, 2023 / 04:50 am (CNA).

Tens of thousands of people were present in St. Peter’s Square for the funeral Thursday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a leading theologian of the 20th century and the first pope to resign from office in nearly 600 years.

Because the Mass began at 9:30 a.m. Rome time (3:30 a.m. ET) many people in the U.S. and elsewhere were not able to watch it live. You can watch EWTN’s live coverage in the YouTube video at the bottom of the story. EWTN will rebroadcast the Mass on its cable network Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET and again at 9 p.m. ET.

The funeral Mass was simple and solemn, in accord with Benedict XVI’s wishes. The Sistine Chapel Choir sang the “Salve Regina,” “In Paradisum,” and other hymns. An image of the resurrection of Christ was hung from St. Peter’s Basilica behind the altar.

Royalty, cardinals, patriarchs, government officials, and many Catholic families and religious attended the funeral on a cold and foggy morning at the Vatican. More than 3,700 priests concelebrated the Mass. 

Cardinals Joseph Zen, Daniel DiNardo, Timothy Dolan, Gianfranco Ravasi, and Giuseppe Betori, all cardinals created by Benedict, were seated in the front row. The Vatican said 125 cardinals concelebrated.

The ceremony began with the transport of the pope emeritus’ wooden coffin from the basilica to St. Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis presided over the funeral for his predecessor. In his homily, Francis reflected on Jesus’ final words on the cross: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

“God’s faithful people, gathered here, now accompany and entrust to him the life of the one who was their pastor,” he said. You can read CNA’s full report on the funeral here, and the full text of Pope Francis’ homily here.