Pope Benedict XVI during audiences in Vatican in Rome / Marco Iacobucci Epp|Shutterstock

CNA Newsroom, Jan 3, 2023 / 09:30 am (CNA).

A peal of Church bells will ring out across Germany in mourning for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Thursday, the day of his funeral. 

The bells of all Catholic churches of the 27 dioceses of Germany are expected to toll at 11 a.m. (local time) on Jan 5. to pay respect for the late pontiff.

Bishops from the 27 dioceses in Germany are expected to attend the funeral in Rome. 

All seven Bavarian dioceses will be represented by their respective bishops. For the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where Benedict — as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — was archbishop from 1977 to 1982, a delegation headed by Cardinal Reinhard Marx will attend the funeral service. 

Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier will head up the official state delegation from Berlin. He will be joined by Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder, together with a large Bavarian delegation, sources told CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. 

The president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, was one of the first to visit the funeral chapel of Pope Benedict XVI. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, accompanied by other officials from her government, also attended on the morning of Monday, Jan. 2, and prayed for several minutes before the remains of the pope emeritus.

Many other heads of state and royalty have already come to pay their respects — or are attending the funeral in an unofficial capacity. These include the president of Hungary, Katalin Novak; the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda; King Philip of Belgium; and Queen Sofia of Spain, among others. 

“Following the wishes of the pope emeritus, the funeral will be held under the sign of simplicity,” the director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters. Bruni stressed that it would be a “solemn but sober funeral.”

Benedict XVI died on Dec. 31 at 9:34 a.m. Rome time. As confirmed by his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his last words were in Italian: “Signore, ti amo !” (Lord, I love you!).

You can follow the funeral live on EWTN here.