The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is seen in Lewiston in 2022. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 122 Ash St. will hold a Mass for the Repose of the Soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Basilica rector and Prince of Peace Parish pastor, the Rev. Daniel Greenleaf said.

Germany Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI waves upon his arrival to the cathedral in Freising, Germany, on Sept. 14, 2006. Associated Press file

Benedict served as pope from 2005 to 2013 when he resigned due to declining health. He was the first pope in six centuries to do so. Benedict’s body will continue to be publicly viewed at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City until Thursday when Pope Francis will hold his funeral in St. Peter’s Square just outside the Basilica.

Greenleaf said Lewiston’s Catholic community is “blessed” to have Basilica of Saints Peter and Paula and a connection to the pope.

“I want to celebrate the Mass for the repose of Pope Benedict’s soul because the Basilica has a special relationship to the pope,” Greenleaf said. “He is the pastor of the Basilica and I am the rector in his place. It is a great honor to have that kind of a connection to the worldwide church.”

Greenleaf said the basilica has two symbols speaking to that special relationship: the red and yellow umbrella which is left partially open in anticipation of the pope’s visit and the bell mounted on a staff, which is used should he ever visit Lewiston.

“It is very fitting that a Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict be celebrated in the sacred space of the Basilica,” Greenleaf said. “For those who come to the Mass for prayer and fellowship, they will be able to connect spiritually to the worldwide Catholic Church who will be doing the same thing in faith.”

Greenleaf said Benedict’s celebration of life is important to him personally, too. When Greenleaf was a seminarian and young priest, Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and influential under Pope John Paul II. Greenleaf studied many of Benedict’s writings in theology and they affected him profoundly, he said.

“Please come out and join us in prayer for him,” Greenleaf said.

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