As all of you know, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI renounced the papacy last week, effective Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. our time. While all of us are no doubt saddened by this announcement we can all take comfort in the manner in which the Holy Father arrived at his decision.
He told an audience at the Vatican that he arrived at his decision after prayer and with a clear conscience before God. He felt that it was for the good of the Church that he should take this extraordinary step. None of us should be surprised by his selfless act, as Pope Benedict has demonstrated throughout his papacy an undying love for the Church and has been an example of humility. Characteristics we should all seek to emulate.
Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for to the Holy Father. It was he who called me to serve the Church as a bishop. I will forever be grateful for his affection and his trust and I pray that I will be able to fulfill his confidence in me. In thinking about the Holy Father I am always taken back to the words that a friend of mine who worked closely with the pope. I asked him how he would describe Benedict XVI, without hesitation he said, “He has the intelligence of five men and the heart of a child.”
On Friday, Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, I will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI at the Cathedral at 6:30 p.m. I humbly invite all of you to be part of the special Mass for the Holy Father.