HUNDREDS of worshippers attended a service at the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral to commemorate the end of Pope Benedict XVI’s time in office.
The Mass was given by Archbishop Patrick Kelly and it was one of his last major public celebrations, as he too is about to retire following the slight stroke he suffered in December.
The acceptance of his resignation was one of the last acts of Pope Benedict XVI, who officially retired yesterday as leader of the world’s 1.2bn Catholics.
Archbishop Kelly will be stepping down from his position after nearly 17 years as leader of the archdiocese of Liverpool.
Last night, priests and deacons from across the diocese joined hundreds of parishioners to mark the Pope’s resignation.
Archbishop Kelly said of the news: "In the deepest sense, it is no surprise that such a disciple of the Lord, when he discerns the resources of body and mind are inadequate to fulfil the mission entrusted to him, comes to the clear, humble and selfless decision to resign."
Pope Benedict XVI has become the first pope in 600 years to resign.
In a final farewell to his cardinals as pope, Benedict tried to dispel concerns about the unprecedented future awaiting the Catholic Church, with one reigning and one retired pope living side- by-side.
He pledged his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor.
In his final public remarks as pope, Benedict pledged to continue working for the good of the church in his retirement. He told a packed piazza from the palace balcony that, as of his retirement: "I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this Earth."
Archbishop Kelly paid tribute to him in his homily: "Pope Benedict at this hour implements a question utterly personal: but for that very reason for us all.
"What does ‘loving wisdom, wisest love, generous love’ require of me?
"Not what the crowds expect: nor cynics, nor those who never allow the Lord to pierce the secret of the heart, to probe the loins, the truth of body, mind, spirit."
Many parishioners wanted to share what they said was an important moment in the church’s history.
Honor Carr, from Orrell Park, said: "It’s the end of an era, it’s rather poignant that the Pope is retiring the same year as Archbishop Kelly.
"He served the people of Liverpool very well."
Gill Bath, from Childwall, said: "As a practising Catholic, it was a very important and memorable occasion.
"My mum is Archbishop Kelly’s housekeeper, but it’s not a job to her, he’s family."
Kathy Corkey, from Orrell Park, said: "I just couldn’t miss this evening, I never thought I’d see the two of them go in one year. It will be sad to see Patrick Kelly go."
The Most Reverend Kelly added: "I will miss all this but I will be handing over the best diocese."