Baltimore Archbishop William Lori talks about the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)
Archbishop William E. Lori will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving next week for the papacy of Benedict XVI, the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Friday.
The Mass is planned for 5 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, spokesman Sean Caine said. It will be open to the public; tickets will not be required.
Benedict, 85, said this week that he would step down at the end of the month after nearly eight years as spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. He became the first pope to resign voluntarily since Clementine V in 1294.
Lori called Benedict a "gentle, almost courtly man" who is "very, very gracious with a ready smile and good sense of humor."
The College of Cardinals is expected to meet at the Vatican next month to choose a successor.
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