WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — As thousands of people paid their respects to Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican City on Thursday, Rhode Islanders gathered in Providence to commemorate his legacy.

Woonsocket native Paul Lebon was at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul attending a mass held by the Diocese of Providence to bless the late pontiff’s soul.

Pope Benedict visited Cuba in 2012 and LeBon was asked to help organize the event. LeBon shared with 12 News his experience watching Pope Benedict speak with Fidel Castro, and later meeting the pontiff himself.

Watch LeBons full interview in the video player above.