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Northeast Ohioans join others around the world mourning Pope Emeritus Benedict

Pope Benedict
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 02, 2023

CLEVELAND — People around the world, as well as those here in Northeast Ohio, are mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict.

“One of the most remarkable philosophical and theological minds of our time but at the same time a very humble and a gentle soul,” said Father Eric Orzech, Saint Casimir Church.

He met the pope several times.

Saint Augustine’s Father William O’Donnell met Pope Benedict as well when Benedict was a Cardinal. He left an impression on O’Donnell.

“You didn’t walk away from him without feeling very impressed and in the presence of a very holy man,” said O’Donnell.

Over 15 months, starting in 2009, 50 Catholic churches in the Cleveland Diocese were slated to be closed. But then in an extraordinary move, the Vatican reversed Bishop Richard Lennon’s closing of about a dozen churches. Saint Casimir was one of those churches. The pope leading the Catholic Church at the time was Benedict.

Now, hanging on the wall inside that church is a blessing from Pope Benedict.

“When our church was reopened, we received a papal blessing. Often times, for special occasions they request a blessing from the pope and Benedict was reigning at the time. It’s interesting to note that this was issued on the last day of his pontificate, he retired the very next day,” explained Orzech.

In February 2013, Pope Benedict made the shocking announcement that he planned to retire.

Now his predecessor Pope Francis will preside over the funeral in Saint Peter’s Square later this week.

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