Pope greets pilgrims in St. Peter's for final time

NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Published:

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI is greeting pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell.

Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary.

St. Peter's was overflowing and pilgrims and curiosity-seekers were picking spots along the main boulevard nearby to watch Wednesday's event on giant TV screens. Some 50,000 tickets were requested for Benedict's final master class on the Catholic faith, but Italian media estimated the number of people actually attending could be double that.