With the rest of the world we are in shock at the news of the Holy Father’s resignation; we offer him our sincere gratitude and thanks for his too short years as Pope, but most of all we give thanks to our Almighty Father for the gift of his reign.
As we await February 28th it is perhaps more important than ever to pray for him and for the cardinals who will soon gather to elect his successor, the sucessor of Peter, and Vicar of Christ. We might also take this opportunity, during the Year of Faith, to reflect on what the Holy Father has taught us. I offer the following quotation from the his homily in Westminster Cathedral, given during his visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 (the full text can be found here),
Faithful to Christ’s command to “do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19), the Church in every time and place celebrates the Eucharist until the Lord returns in glory, rejoicing in his sacramental presence and drawing upon the power of his saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world. The reality of the Eucharistic sacrifice has always been at the heart of Catholic faith; called into question in the sixteenth century, it was solemnly reaffirmed at the Council of Trent against the backdrop of our justification in Christ. Here in England, as we know, there were many who staunchly defended the Mass, often at great cost, giving rise to that devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist which has been a hallmark of Catholicism in these lands.
At this time, when we all feel particularly close to the Holy Father and we offer our prayers for him and his successor, it seems particularly appropriate to sing this wonderful English hymn as a sign of our affection. God bless our Pope!