Day of Prayer For and With Benedict

A blog run by an Italian vaticanista (i.e., a reporter and prognosticator on all-things “Vatican”) has announced a “Day of Prayer For Benedict, With Benedict“, for the first anniversary of the Pope Emeritus’ resignation: February 28, 2014.

The unforgettable moment when then-Pope Benedict XVI said goodbye at Castel Gandolfo.

Here is my translation of the article. Surely someone will create an English Facebook page and so forth for this event; once I know of something I’ll post it on the blog. In the meantime, mark your calendars and consider joining in prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict in a special way that day. Here is the article:

To celebrate the first anniversary of the conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate (28 February 2013-2014), the blog “La Vigna del Signore” (Italian) has launched – via Facebook (Italian) – an interesting initiative: a “Day of Prayer for Benedict, with Benedict”. The organizers explain that it is a way, praying with and for Benedict, to remember and celebrate Pope Ratzinger’s historic resignation from the Petrine ministry.

Anyone can take part in the prayer at any moment of that day, this coming February 28: by offering a particular prayer intention for the Pontiff Emeritus, by participating in a Eucharistic celebration in the local parish, by pausing for a brief moment of personal prayer, or even by choosing one of the moments from Benedict XVI’s usual daily prayer schedule to share interiorly – in communion with the Pope Emeritus – a moment of ecclesial prayer (his daily schedule is 7:00am Holy Mass / 7:30am Lauds, Office of Readings, and Mid-Morning Prayer / 12:00pm Angelus and Mid-Day Prayer / 3:00pm Mid-Afternoon Prayer and Rosary /  6:00-7:00pm Vespers and Meditation / 10:30pm Compline). In addition, according to the initiative’s organizers, “a booklet, downloadable online, will be prepared with texts for all of the day’s prayers, together with a special version of the Rosary that includes meditations for each mystery taken from the Magisterium of Benedict XVI.”

“The Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord”, said Benedict XVI during his first greeting as Pontiff on April 19, 2005. Eight years later, from the central loggia of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, on February 28, 2013, Pope Ratzinger bid farewell to the crowd of faithful with these words: “I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still, thank you, I would still – with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength – like to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity. I feel greatly supported by your kindness.”

The theologian-Pope thus chose prayer and meditation as a permanent abode, as it were, during this last stage of his pilgrimage on earth. “The Lord is calling me ‘to scale the mountain’, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church; indeed, if God asks me this it is precisely so that I may continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.”

The historic date of February 28, on which the resignation from the Petrine ministry that Benedict XVI had previously announced on February 11, 2013 became effective, seemed to be destined to become a sad memory of an interrupted pontificate. Today, even though barely a year has passed, with a more conscious and mature retrospective we look upon this particular event with greater serenity and in a spirit of Christian obedience to the will of God.

Just a few days before his farewell, on February 14, 2013, as he met with the parish priests of Rome, Benedict XVI said: “I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have sensed, as I said on Wednesday – almost palpably. And although I am about to withdraw, I remain close to all of you in prayer, and I am sure that you too will be close to me, even if I am hidden from the world.”

Mark your calendars: February 28, 2014!

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