A special Mass in Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. Diocese of Allentown Bishop John Barres will be the celebrant of the Mass.

Wednesday will be the last full day of Pope Benedict's nearly eight year papacy. The resignation the Pope announced earlier this month will take effect the next day.

In his statement on the Pope's resignation Barres said, "On behalf of the entire Diocese of Allentown, I offer our prayers to Pope Benedict XVI as he prepares for his well-deserved retirement." The Wednesday evening Mass will be an opportunity for the people of the diocese to gather in prayer for the Pope.

The Mass will be open to the public.