Over 200,000 people in St.Peter’s Square and the streets beyond demonstrated
their support for the frail pontiff, and their empathy for his successor. There was applause and there were tears as Benedict XVI, in the last public speech he will ever make, thanked the crowd for their expressions of love and faith.
The jeep moved through the arches…and he was gone!
The Order of Malta, which runs a first aid post every Wednesday and Sunday at the Vatican, recorded a hectic morning, with numerous patients. The Order of Malta’s Aline Dobrzensky, a long-time volunteer at the Post, recounts: ‘A young American/ Italian couple came in with a two-week old baby, as the mother was feeling faint. When she recovered and felt better, they stood by the door of the Post, just as Pope Benedict was leaving after the Papal Audience in his white jeep. He turned and gave our whole team a lovely wave and a smile, to say farewell. The white jeep then suddenly stopped and the mother held up her baby to His Holiness. The Pope, who is a member of the Order of Malta, gently kissed the baby boy - who was called Benedict - on his forehead and gave us all such a lovely smile. Then the jeep moved on through the arches ... and he was gone!’
The Order of Malta’s First Aid Post in the Vatican has been running Wednesdays and Sundays since 1975. It is staffed by 85 members and volunteers, including doctors, nurses and trained first aiders. The Post is at the disposal of all pilgrims who visit St.Peter’s for papal audiences and
Count Enrico (Harry) Dobrzensky reading the Prayer of the Order of Malta to all the volunteers at the end of the long morning.