PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On Thursday, dozens filled The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria to pay their respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The late pontiff died Dec. 31 at the age of 95.
“It was important for us because of his witness of faith and his service to the church in his role as Pope that we gather in our local community of the church to honor his life and celebrate his new life with the Lord,” Diocesan Bishop Louis Tylka.
The late Pontiff was described as a good and faithful servant to the Lord.
“”He was a man who did not think in sound bites he thought in paragraphs is one of the characteristics that have been shared,” said Diocesan Bishop Louis Tylka.
The love for the Pope Emeritus went beyond his leadership.
“He’s always been dear to my heart. He’s a musician. A quintessential musician and loved Mozart as much as I do and a fantastic pianist. I wanted to be here for him because he stood for truth in the world always,” said Mary Ann Fahey-Darling, Music Director at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.
The late pope was the first to resign in the modern era at the age of 85. This act is being described as a great sign of humility by both Tylka and Fahey-Darling.
“It showed his great devotion and love to the church. That he was willing to recognize in his own life he needed to take that step back and to allow the church to move forward,” Tylka said.
The Bishop wants people to take three things from the late Pope’s legacy. His personal witness of faith in trusting the Lord, his desire to serve, and that it is in prayer and constant reading of the scriptures that people will deepen their relationship with the Lord and with one another.