Today we thank God for the pontificate of Benedict XVI and pray for him as he ends his service to the Church. He has given us beautiful encyclicals, especially Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi, among his many writings and teachings. In this Province we recall especially his 2008 visit to Washington, DC and New York. Over the years our Religious Family has also brought young pilgrims to greet him and grow closer to Jesus Christ during three World Youth Days: Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008), and Madrid (2011). We give thanks to God for his pontificate as the Vicar of Christ.
The Church now enter into a time of sede vacante–the empty chair–when there is yet no new successor of Saint Peter. Yet every member of the Body of Christ can share in the work of the College of Cardinals by praying for them during the days leading up to the Conclave and throughout the process. One way is to offer a daily Rosary for the cardinals and for the future pope. Our Lady, Mother of the Church, is a particularly appropriate guide and intercessor since she led the Apostles in prayer in the Upper Room during the days between the Ascension of the Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us in #963 by leading us to these quotes:
“The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.”(Lumen Gentium 53; cf. St. Augustine, De virg. 6:PL 40,399)
“Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”(Paul VI, Discourse, November 21, 1964).”
May we join with her in prayer and invoke her protection and care over the whole Church. Mary Mother of the Church, pray for us.
As we all follow news about the Conclave, the Vatican’s own news service, www.news.va, provides direct live coverage from Rome.