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Pope Benedict Says 'Look Ahead' After Commemoration

Pope Benedict XVI announced it was time for the Catholic Church to 'look ahead' at the memorial mass for John Paul II.
( [email protected] ) Apr 03, 2006 08:19 PM EDT

Pope Benedict XVI announced it was time for the Catholic Church to "look ahead" at the memorial mass for John Paul II.

The 78-year-old pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the Church should move on to work for a "more just and united" world in memory of John Paul’s achievements.

"Dear brothers and sisters, this evening our thoughts turn with emotion to the moment of the death of our beloved pontiff, but at the same time it is as if our hearts are pushed to look forwards," he said to thousands, many of who held pictures and relics of the late pope.

The mass held Monday marked the end of the three day worldwide commemoration ceremony for John Paul, where expression of emotion was seen, especially in his native Poland.

30 Cardinals, most of them appointed by John Paul II, were present alongside thousands of people, many of whom were waving red and white Polish flags.

Pope Benedict said that his predecessor’s faith was "strong and authentic and free from fear and compromise."

Such faith, he added, had a "contagious effect on the hearts of so many people, due also to so many apostolic pilgrimages in every part of the world and especially due to his last journey, which was his agony and his death."

Amongst the dignitaries who visited John Paul’s tomb included two members of the Italian parliament, Marcello Pera and Pier Ferdinando Casini.