VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict received an ecstatic welcome on Wednesday when he entered the Vatican's audience hall for one of his last appearances before the end of the month, when he will become the first pope in centuries to resign.
The pope was expected to speak of his decision during the audience, held in a packed hall holding about 8,000 people.
Later on Wednesday, an Ash Wednesday Mass that was to have taken place in a small church in Rome will be held instead in St Peter's Basilica so more people can attend.
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