Long Island residents mourn Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Long Island residents watched the funeral service for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Saint Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.
Mourners along with bishops and dignitaries from around the world gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the funeral Mass.
The retired pope died on Dec. 31 in Vatican City at the age of 95.
"I loved Pope Benedict. He was a beautiful, humble pope. He was always searching for the truth and the love of Jesus with his friendship with him," said attendee Patricia Rooney. "Bless his soul. I pray for his soul every day."
The service marked the first time in the church's modern era that a pontiff - Pope Francis - presided over the funeral of his predecessor.
Pope Benedict XVI was the first pontiff in nearly six centuries to resign rather than hold office for life. He did so in February 2013, citing age and health concerns.
"I think he was a really intelligent and wonderful pope, and it was sad that he decided to resign," said Susan Lynch, of Rockville Centre.
A memorial Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be held at Saint Agnes Cathedral on Friday at 9 a.m.