QUEENS (WABC) -- Thousands of Catholics are making their way to Rome - including Timothy Cardinal Dolan -- to attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
For Cardinal Dolan, this is not just a duty but a personal pilgrimage to pay final respects.
"I can't claim to be in his inner circle...he's the one who appointed me to be Archbishop of New York," he said.
Five years after Pope Benedict's trip to New York - and after eight years as Pontiff, he became the first pope in 600 years to resign, citing failing health.
Cardinal Dolan is remembering that even though he stepped down as Pontiff, his contributions to the church remained profound even as he approached death.
"Everybody knew of his presence," he said.
The Vatican estimates 60 thousand people will attend Pope Emeritus' funeral in St. Peter's Square on Thursday. Many more will watch online and on TV around the world.
Eyewitness News Reporter Mike Marza is headed to the Vatican for Pope Benedict's funeral. You can see his reports this week on Eyewitness News.