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Benedict XVI greets faithful for last time from balcony of papal retreat


Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the window of the Pope’s summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. AP/Andrew Medichini

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy—Pope Benedict XVI has arrived at the papal estate in Castel Gandolfo, as crowds in the town square cheered and waved flags.

Earlier, as a helicopter whirred overhead, bells started ringing more furiously than before. The crowd in the Castel Gandolfo square started cheering and chanting, “Benedetto, Benedetto” in rhythm.

As Pope Benedict XVI appeared on the balcony at Castel Gandolfo, people in the crowd below started screaming his name. He must wait before he could even speak to them.

“I will no longer be pope but a simple pilgrim who is starting out on the last part of his pilgrimage on this Earth,” he told thousands of well-wishers gathered in the square below.

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Tags: Benedict XVI , Italy , Pope , Vatican

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