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Cardinal Donald Wuerl to leave for Vatican

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He offers prayers as he celebrates one of his last masses before leaving for the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI to resigns: Popes throughout history (photos)

Pope Benedict XVI to resigns: Popes throughout history (photos) 13 Photos
Pope Benedict XVI to resigns: Popes throughout history (photos)

On Friday, Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl marked the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.

During his homily, the Cardinal reflected on the shock many Catholics experienced when they learned that Pope Benedict the Sixteeth was stepping down.

“Now that the startling quality of that announcement has subsided, we're able to recognize that our Holy Father's actions speaks to us of his greatness,” he says.

This is the first time in modern history that a pope has resigned. It is also the first the Cardinal will help pick the pontiff's successor.

He will be one of 11 U.S. cardinals who will participate in the conclave.

“It brings with it a certain shutter, a spiritual shutter when you realize that we'll be discovering what the Holy Spirit is asking of the 117 of us,” he says.

The 72-year-old Cardinal will spend time this week praying as he prepares to head to Rome.

“A big part of this is simply being quiet and letting the spirit talk to your heart,” he says.

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