A special celebration of the Eucharist will be offered in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI and the extraordinary leadership he has given to the Church through his papacy.

The Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Basilica on Thursday, February 28, at 12 noon, coinciding with the official time that the Pope’s resignation comes into effect (8 p.m. in Rome).  Archbishop Richard Smith will be joined by about 22 Western Canadian Bishops, who will be in Edmonton for their annual meeting, and priests from across the Archdiocese and the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton.

All are welcome to join in this historic celebration.

The event will also be livestreamed at www.caedm.ca/webcast.

"We are grateful to God for the leadership given to the Church by this extraordinary man,” Archbishop Smith said after the Pope unexpectedly announced his resignation on Feb. 11. “The clarity and beauty of his teachings will be a legacy to enrich the Church for generations.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Smith said Pope Benedict’s decision to step down teaches us all about the need to understand and live within our limits. “It also teaches us that we are not to be clinging to what we might see as symbols, offices of power, but the human person who trusts in the Lord and follows the Lord is called, at each and every moment, to let go of attachments, to let go of worldly symbols of power or prestige, and just have oneself dedicated fully to serving the Lord with the entirety of oneself.” 
 
“The more that people reflect upon this absolutely courageous and faith-filled decision of the Holy Father,” said Archbishop Smith, “the more we are taught, the more we learn. And this was just perfectly in continuity with a whole life dedicated to teaching God’s people.”
 
Listen to the complete interview at http://media01.radiovaticana.va/audiomp3/00358763.MP3.
 
The Canadian Bishops have also written a letter to the Holy Father, thanking him for his service to the Church and assuring him of the abiding prayers, love and support of the Church in Canada.