MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) - As thousands of people gather in Vatican City to pay their respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a church in Miami Shores invites the public to attend its mass for the former pope.

On Thursday, Archbishop Thomas Wenski is set to hold a Memorial Mass for Pope Benedict XVI to honor his life and ministry, at Saint Martha’s Church.

Officials in Vatican City stated that more than 50,000 people attended the Funeral Mass in Saint Peter’s Square for the late Benedict after roughly 200,000 people paid their respects over the past three days of his body’s public viewing.

Benedict passed away on Dec. 31 at the age of 95, and as people paid tribute to the deceased, Pope Francis praised his predecessor, marking the first time in modern church history for a sitting pope to celebrate the funeral mass of a former pope.

The historic service drew heads of state and royalty, but only Rome and Germany were invited to send official delegations.

One priest who visited the Roman Catholic city-state said the Mass was a humbling experience.

Benedict was elected as pope back in 2005, and he became the first pope to resign in 600 years when he said he no longer had the strength to lead the Catholic Church.

“It was shocking,” said an Archbishop from Texas. “No pope has resigned for ages on end.”

The body of the late pope will be kept in the same crypt as Saint John Paul II, whose tomb was later moved to the main Basilica.

Benedict’s passing has significance to Miami’s Catholic community as he appointed Wenski to his current position in the church back in April of 2010.

The Mass will begin at 11:45 a.m. and all are welcome.

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