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Pope asks enthusiastic Vatican crowd to pray for him as well as successor


Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

Faithful shout slogans as Pope Benedict XVI leads the Sunday Angelus in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Feb. 17. Pope Benedict, speaking before a larger than usual crowd at his penultimate Sunday address, asked the faithful to pray for him and for the next pope.

Tony Gentile / Reuters

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful.

The crowd chanted "Long live the pope!," waved banners and broke into sustained applause as he spoke from his window. The 85-year-old Benedict, who will resign on February 28, thanked them in several languages.

Speaking in Spanish, he told the crowd which the Vatican said numbered more than 50,000: "I beg you to continue praying for me and for the next pope".

-- By Philip Pullella, Reuters

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Updated Mach 5: Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his final general audience on Feb. 27, in Vatican City. (Christopher Furlong  / Getty Images)

With the days of his papacy dwindling, every public appearance of outgoing Pope Benedict are now a must see event, NBC's Ann Thompson reports.