As I pen this missive, the Cardinal-electors of the Church are preparing to enter the Conclave for the selection of a new Bishop of Rome to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who just one month ago announced his resignation from the See of Peter. Historically, the world’s attention has been especially drawn to the workings of the Roman Catholic Church in times of councils and conclaves. This unprecedented Lenten experience has been no different.
I believe that we will have heard by this weekend the words, "Habemus Papam," meaning “we have a Pope!” During the period of interregnum (the time between popes) there has been much attention drawn to the “needs of the Church” and speculation as to who would become our next pope. The cardinals held ten congregations (meetings) where 161 of them had an opportunity to address their concerns for the Church. This time of fraternal dialogue prepared them to be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the papal conclave proceedings.
As pastor of the universal church the bishop of Rome exercises his ministry in a unique way. He has special responsibility for preserving and building unity among its 1.2 billion Catholic members, including the 5,100 bishops and 412,000 priests. In carrying out the many spiritual, magisterial and governance aspects of his mission, it is hoped that the new pope will draw particular inspiration from the two men who preceded him, Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Please continue to pray for our new Holy Father, that he may be strengthened as he embarks on his ministry of unity, love and peace; and in union with the bishops of the Church, bring Christ’s message of new evangelization to the world.
In His peace,