Pope Benedict leads solemn final Mass in the Vatican

Pope Benedict the XVI has celebrated his last scheduled public Mass following his resignation. The service for Ash Wednesday was held in St Peter's Basilica, in the Vatican.

Wearing purple vests to symbolise the beginning of the holy season of Lent, the Pope celebrated a mass packed full of cardinals, bishops, monks, nuns, friars, pilgrims and the public.

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Pope thankful for 'prayers'

The Pope has made his first appearance at St Peter's Square window since his resignation announcement and thanked the faithful for their "prayers and support."