Alice, Timothée, Joseph… all go to the funeral of Benedict XVI

They are young, French, admirers of Benedict XVI and are going to Rome for the funeral of the pope emeritus this Thursday, January 5, 2023. Testimonies.

“A round trip to Rome for the funeral of Benedict XVI? That would be madness! Exclaims Philippine, 24, in front of a consecrated friend involved in the community of Notre-Dame de Vie, where she was following a New Year’s retreat in Venasque (Vaucluse). Tempted by the idea of ​​going to Place Saint-Pierre to pay a last homage to Benedict XVI but hesitant in the face of the madness of this eventuality, she finally let herself be convinced by the words of her friend, who had herself at the funeral of John Paul II on April 8, 2005: “John Paul II had done crazy things for us, I could do one for him! “. Not preparing to resume her law studies until February, Philippine therefore took her plane tickets for an express round trip to Rome.

For Joseph and Odile, a couple in their thirties, parents of four young children and living in Saint-Lager, a small village in Beaujolais, the question of going to the funeral of Benedict XVI arose as soon as his death was announced. For practical reasons, Joseph is preparing to go alone in the end, in communion of thought with his wife. This business leader, manager of a communication agency and aged 36, intends to reach Rome by car with friends: “Benedict XVI has done so much for us! I tell myself that it’s time to let ourselves be pushed around, and to testify to our faith in front of the world, ”he confides to Aleteia.

Some parishes have also organized carpooling. This is the case in Villefranche-sur-Saône and Belleville (Rhône), from which leave this Wednesday, January 4 about twenty parishioners wishing to participate in the funeral of Benedict XVI. A round trip over two days in which Father Thimothée Besson, 32, vicar at the parish of Sainte Anne des Calades in Villefranche takes part. An initiative launched with other recently ordained priests, following a discussion on WhatsApp the day after the death of the pope emeritus. “I was sure that some young people would be ready to make the trip! It was enough to find cars! », explains the young priest.

Admirers of Benedict XVI

“Benedict XVI is the Pope of our seminary years,” says Father Thimothée Besson, ordained a priest in 2020 after 10 years of training. “We took a close interest in his writings, it creates an attachment. For me, Benedict XVI is a holy man, very gentle and full of humility, and I believe that graces will be given during his burial, as during any pilgrimage”.

“I feel close to him, he is a pope who has marked me a lot”, confides Joseph for his part. He saw Benedict XVI at the JMJ in Cologne (2005) then Madrid (2011), as well as in Paris in 2008. “I was touched by his message, by his search for the truth, by his courage too, on several occasions he was misunderstood but did not weaken. The best illustration of this was this gesture, at the WYD in Madrid, of standing up in the storm while his team told him to leave to take shelter. He chose to stay with the young people. To me, that’s a great example. »

Carriers of prayer intentions

They leave to pay homage to this endearing Pope who was dear to them, but also to entrust him with special prayer intentions. Alice, 24, a law student, will also be present in Saint-Pierre Square this Thursday, January 5, with a small group from her parish: “Benedict XVI knew how to speak to young French Catholics. His position, especially on the different forms of liturgy, was fair, inspiring, which is why I have at heart to go to his funeral to ask him to intercede for the Church and for the young people of tomorrow ” .

As for Philippine, she always felt close to Benedict XVI. Because of her contemplative character, which she shares, and the power of her texts on theological virtues. “I have read his encyclicals and am still overwhelmed by the power and light that emanates from them. As part of a group of young people committed to Notre-Dame de Vie, she left for Rome united with the others in prayer. “As soon as I said that I was going to the funeral of Benedict XVI, I was entrusted with many prayer intentions. May Benedict XVI intercede with the Father for all the intentions entrusted to him on that day.


Alice, Timothée, Joseph… all go to the funeral of Benedict XVI