Published: Feb 27, 2013 12:05 PM EST
Updated: Feb 27, 2013 12:46 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Ave Maria University this week will honor Pope Benedict XVI through a series of events in recognition of the final days of his papacy. All campus activities are open to the public.

Pope Benedict announced earlier this month that he is stepping down from the chair of Saint Peter. He will officially step down on Thursday at 2 p.m.

During the two days of celebration, Wednesday, Feb. 27, and Thursday, Feb. 28, the University will host a daily Mass, student-organized panel discussion, a student service project to feed the hungry of Immokalee and a lecture by Dr. Michael Waldstein, a nationally-renowned scholar who has published extensively on Pope Benedict's papacy.

The student service project pays tribute to his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, he explained the importance of service to others.

Members of the public are invited to join the Ave Maria University community as it bids farewell to Pope Benedict and honors his glowing legacy.

The following is a list of events on the Ave Maria University campus:

Wednesday, Feb. 27

Masses of Thanksgiving: 7:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Oratory

Student-organized panel on The Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and its Contributions to the Life of the Church: 5 p.m. in the Demetree Lecture Hall Panelists include faculty members Dr. Michael Waldstein, the Rev. Matthew Lamb and Dr. Anthony Valle.

Eucharistic Holy Hour and Meditation, 7 p.m. in the Oratory The University's interim campus minister, Rev. Robert McTeigue, S.J. will preside.

Thursday, Feb. 28

Student Service Ministry: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union ballroom Students will be preparing meals for the needy in Immokalee.

Ave Maria University Board of Trustees Mass to Honor the Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI: 5 p.m., in the Oratory The Rev. Robert McTeigue, S.J. will be the main celebrant of the Mass.

Lecture: The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI: 7:30 p.m. in the Demetree Lecture Hall.