Palma: Pray, fast for Pope Benedict XVI-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
PRAY for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has asked Cebuanos for prayers and fasting for the intention of the pontiff, whose reign ended at 3 a.m. today.
The people were also asked to keep calm with the vacancy in the highest position in the Catholic Church as administrative operations and management of the Vatican in Rome, Italy remain functional.
With the Holy See vacant, Palma also ordered that the name of the pope be omitted from all masses starting today until a new pontiff is elected.
“As our expression of gratitude and unity for the entire Universal Church, I would like to strongly encourage all the Cebuano faithful to do a special time of prayer especially the recitation of the Holy Rosary and fasting for the intention of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” Palma said in his circular addressed to parish priests, lay leaders, religious communities and the lay faithful.
Palma also directed parishes and religious groups to hold special masses today and during the conclave, or the gathering of cardinals for the election of a new pope.
Pope Benedict XVI, whose papacy lasted almost eight years, steps down today as the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics worldwide.
In a letter he read last Feb. 11, the 86-year-old former pontiff admitted his incapacity to govern the Church due to declining health.
Archbishop Palma also announced that masses for the pope can be celebrated during the weekdays of the Lenten season of the church, which is a commemoration of the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Priests now omit the name of the pope at the Eucharistic prayer during mass.
The pope left Vatican City for Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, where he will stay until May this year.
The Eucharistic prayer is the most solemn part of the liturgy of the Eucharist “in which the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ,” Fr. Mhar Balili, vice chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Worship, said.
“We omit the name of the pope and recite directly the name of the bishop. This is done until we have a new pope,” he said.
Canon lawyer Msgr. Esteban Binghay said the administrative functions continue at the Vatican City even in the absence of a pope, or Sede Vacante.
He told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview that the Camerlengo (chamberlain) and three cardinals will be in charge at this time.
Binghay said this group takes charge of the preparations for the conclave and the transition after a new pope has been elected.
“I suggest that people just stay calm, avoid speculations and offer a lot of prayers and sacrifices,” said Fr. Roy Cimagala, chaplain and newspaper columnist.
“The Sede Vacante period is an intense period of delicate discernment, especially on the part of the electors-cardinals, and the rest of the faithful can contribute a lot to their task by precisely being generous with their prayers and sacrifices,” he added.
In a separate statement, seminary formator Fr. Ramon Echica said speculating on who would be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI would be “entertaining but it’s a useless exercise.”
“Just pray that the next pope in particular and the whole church in general will discern well the movement of the spirit in the signs of the times,” he said.
After expressing gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Fr. Charles Jayme suggests that people should live by the legacy left behind by the resigned pontiff.
“It would be best that we continue praying for unity among all Christians. Second we also pray for all the cardinal elect that they may expedite their process of the conclave during the next weeks,” said Jayme, a parochial vicar of the Sto. Rosario parish.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2013.