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Resignation of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI – Mass and prayer at this time

Pope ringing bell

Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Election of His Successor

At a consistory on Monday, 11 February 2013, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to resign on 28 February 2013.  He said:

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

Mass and Prayer at this time

A Diocese or parish may celebrate a special Mass during this unique time and the Roman Missal contains texts in its section on Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions.  An appropriate Mass may be celebrated on the weekdays of Lent at the direction of the Diocesan Bishop or with his permission (see GIRM 374).

The Bishops of Ireland approve the celebration of these Masses as suggested in this note.

Until 28 February

We remember Pope Benedict in prayer. ‘Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions’ in the Roman Missal has a Mass for the Pope (pp 1147-1148).  Using the readings for the day of Lent is appropriate or from the Lectionary III, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, For the Pope (that is,  Common of Pastors, II pp 1472-1500).

The Eucharistic Prayer includes the intercessory prayer for the Pope, naming Pope Benedict until 28 February.

O God, who in your providential design
willed that your Church be built
upon blessed Peter, whom you set over the other Apostles,
look with favour, we pray, on Benedict our Pope
and grant that he, whom you have made Peter’s successor,
may be for your people a visible source and foundation
of unity in faith and of communion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Throughout this period, the Prayer of the Faithful may, each day, include prayer for Pope Benedict.

For Pope Benedict XVI:
that the Lord may sustain him and grace him with peace
as he completes his ministry
to confirm the Church in unity, love and peace.
Lord, hear us.

After 28 February, during the period of Sede Vacante and the holding of the Conclave

In ‘Masses for Various Needs and Occasions,’ the Roman Missal has a Mass formulary For the Election of a Pope (p 1151). Using the readings for the day of Lent is appropriate or from the Lectionary III, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, For the Election of a Pope (pp 425-430).

During this period, the reference to the Pope in the Eucharistic Prayer is omitted.

O God, eternal shepherd,
who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love
a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness
and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

During this period, the Prayer of the Faithful may include prayer for the Conclave and the Cardinals gathered to elect the successor to Pope Benedict.

That the Holy Spirit may guide and inspire the Cardinal-electors as they choose our new Holy Father.
Lord, hear us.

After the election of a successor to Pope Benedict

As above, the Roman Missal contains in ‘Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions’ a Mass for the Pope (pp 1147-1148).

The Eucharistic Prayer includes the intercessory prayer for the Pope, with the name of the successor to Pope Benedict.

O God, shepherd and ruler of all the faithful,
look favourably on your servant N.,
whom you have set at the head of your Church as her shepherd;
grant, we pray, that by word and example
he may be of service to those over whom he presides
so that, together with the flock entrusted to his care,
he may come to everlasting life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Prayer of the Faithful should include a prayer for the newly elected Pope.

For our newly elected Holy Father, Pope N.
that the Lord may sustain him as he begins his ministry
to confirm the Church in unity, love and peace.
Lord, hear us.

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