Updated: Thursday, February 28 2013, 08:29 AM EST
VATICAN CITY (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's an historic day for the catholic church.
Thursday Pope Benedict the 16th will step down, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.
The Pope is saying a final farewell to all of the cardinals at the Vatican.
Pope Benedict will fly to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo to spend the first couple months of his retirement.
The cardinals are set to meet Monday to decide the date for conclave to elect a new pope.