The Holy Father mentioned by name each cardinal and bishop that had died within the past year. Among those he named were Cardinals Paulos Tzadua, former archbishop of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Opilio Rossi, former president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Franz Koenig, former archbishop of Vienna; and Hyacinthe Thiandoum, former archbishop of Dakar, Senegal.

Also mentioned were Cardinals Marcelo González Martín, former archbishop of Toledo; Juan Larraín, former archbishop of Santiago of Chile; James Aloysius Hickey, former archbishop of Washington; and Gustav Joos, canon of Gand Cathedral in Belgium, and a friend of the Pope from their student days in Rome.

The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, together with the other cardinals present in Rome.

"Let us pray for them and for the archbishops and bishops who died this year, whom we entrust with filial confidence to divine mercy," the Holy Father said in the homily.

"Let us give thanks to the Lord for all the benefits He has granted to the Church through the priestly ministry of these deceased pastors," he concluded.

At present, the Catholic Church has 186 cardinals, 122 of whom are electors and under the age of 80, and 64 non-electors.