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Benedict XVI was the only person able to hold back tears during his last Mass as pope at St Peter’s Basilica

The Pope celebrated an emotional last Mass for the distribution of the ashes, kissing the basilica’s altar for the last time

Pope Benedict XVI receives ashes from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica (Photo: CNS)

He says the true disciple does not ‘seek applause or approval’

Benedict XVI waves after celebrating Ash Wednesday Mass (Photo: CNS)

Here we publish the homily of Benedict XVI’s last public Mass as pope

A woman prays at an Ash Wednesday Mass in Hyderabad, India (AP)

Today’s Catholic must-reads: 22/02/12

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Benedict XVI explains significance of Lent and Ash Wednesday at weekly general audience

Copies of Pope Benedict XVI's new book on display the Vatican bookshop (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Cardinal Jozef Tomko places ashes on Benedict XVI’s forehead at the start of Lent

Ash Wednesday: Pope explains Lent

During general audience, Pope Benedict XVI explains the meaning of placing ashes on one’s forehead

People pray during an Ash Wednesday service at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York (CNS photo/Gregory Shemitz)

Bishop Kieran Conry says wearing of ashes is a ‘wonderful’ chance for people to show their commitment to Christ