Pinoys flock to Vatican for Pope's final public appearance

by Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 27 2013 12:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2013 08:19 PM

VATICAN CITY- The final preparations are laid out at St. Peter's Square, where Pope Benedict will hold his final public appearance before he steps down as head of state and Pope.

The media pens are erected, police are working doubly hard. Tourists and pilgrims from different parts of the world, including the Philippines, have started to arrive. 

"I think it's very interesting that he stepped down but I have great faith that he is making the right decision in doing that," Jackielyn, a pilgrim from Ohio, said.

"Matagal ko ng plano na dito mag celebrate ng 80th birthday at sumabay ang resignation ni Pope," Cely Hidalgo from Cavite said.

Rochelle, a Filipino from California, said she is excited to see the Pope."I'm very excited that I'd see him and and see his last audience before he retires," she said.

In bookshops, texts written by Pope Benedict are sold out. The Pope is known to be an exemplary writer and theologian.

"What distinguishes him from other theologians is his capacity to express very profound thoughts in very simple ways so people can really understand them, that is a gift," said Monsignor Jerry Bitoon, Office of Vatican Congregation for Evangelization of People. 

The Vatican Press Office has announced that Pope Benedict will be called Pope Emeritus and will retain the title His Holiness.

He will also continue to be known as Pope Benedict and will not revert to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He will wear his distinctive white robe sans cape or trimmings.

He will also surrender his papal ring and his personal seal will be destroyed in the same tradition as when a pope dies. 

He will give up his signature red loafers for brown shoes.

On Thursday, he will meet with cardinals befor he flies via helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence.