Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

19 March: Lenten Pilgrimage XIV: the way, the truth and the life

Tomas Halik was ordained secretly when the Church was being persecuted in Czechoslovakia, and is still in active ministry as a university teacher. He was asked to give the opening address to the European Continental Assembly in Prague, his home city. This is an extract, the whole speech can be found here.

At the beginning of their history, when Christians were asked what was new about their practice, whether it was a new religion or a new philosophy, they answered: it is the way. It is the way of following the one who said: I am the Way. Christians have constantly returned to this vision throughout history, especially in times of crisis…

[The Synod] is a short portion of a long journey. This small but important fragment of the historical experience of European Christianity must be placed in a wider context, in the colourful mosaic of the global Christianity of the future. We have to say clearly and comprehensibly what European Christianity today wants and can do to respond to the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of our whole planet – this planet which is interconnected today in many ways and at the same time is divided and globally threatened in many ways. We are meeting in a country with a dramatic religious history.

This includes the beginnings of the Reformation in the 14th century, the religious wars in the 15th and 17th centuries and the severe persecution of the Church in the 20th century. In the jails and concentration camps of Hitlerism and Stalinism, Christians learned practical ecumenism and dialogue with nonbelievers, solidarity, sharing, poverty, the “science of the cross.” This country has undergone three waves of secularisation as a result of socio-cultural changes: a “soft secularisation” in the rapid transition from an agrarian to an industrial society; a hard violent secularization under the communist regime; and another “soft secularisation” in the transition from a totalitarian society to a fragile pluralistic democracy in the post-modern era. It is precisely the transformations, crises and trials that challenge us to find new paths and opportunities for a deeper understanding of what is essential. Pope Benedict, on a visit to this country, first expressed the idea that the Church should, like the Temple of Jerusalem, form a “courtyard of the Gentiles”.

We believe and confess that the Church is a mystery, a sacrament, a sign (signum) – a sign of the unity of all humanity in Christ. The Church is a dynamic sacrament, it is a way to that goal. Total unification is an eschatological goal that can only be fully realized at the end of history. Only then will the Church be completely and perfectly one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Only then will we see and mirror God fully, just as He is.

Christianity was the way in the beginning, and it is to be the way now and forever. So it was in the beginning, so it must be now and forever. The Church as a communion of pilgrims is a living organism, which means always to be open, transforming and evolving. Synodality, a common journey (syn hodos), means a constant openness to the Spirit of God, through whom the risen, living Christ lives and works in the Church. The synod is an opportunity to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the churches today.

The photograph shows one of the demonstrations in Wenceslas Square in Prague that led to the overturning of Communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia.

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10 February: Pope Benedict’s Angelus VII

Mary Mother from Hales Place Jesuit Chapel, Canterbury

There is a tradition for the Pope to greet pilgrims at Angelus time, around midday, and share a few thoughts, often on the readings for the day. We are glad to offer a selection from Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections, aimed at a general audience rather than academic theologians. Sometimes there are interesting asides addressed to particular groups of pilgrims, showing Benedict’s human side. Our last selection for this series is from the end of Benedict’s Apostolic visit to Germany, after Mass at the Airport, Freiburg im Breisgau, Sunday, 25 September 2011

(Video)

Dear Sisters and Brothers!

At the end of this solemn celebration of holy Mass we now pray the Angelus together.  This prayer constantly reminds us of the historical beginnings of our salvation.  The Archangel Gabriel presents God’s plan of salvation to the Virgin Mary, by which she was to become the Mother of the Redeemer.  Mary was fearful, but the angel of the Lord spoke a word of comfort to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.”  So Mary is able to respond with her great “yes”.  This “yes”, by which she accepts to become the handmaid of the Lord, is the trusting “yes” to God’s plan, to our salvation.  And she finally addresses her “yes” to us all, whom she received as her children entrusted to her at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:27).  She never withdraws this promise.  And so she is called happy, or rather blessed, for believing that what was promised her by the Lord would be fulfilled (cf. Lk 1:45).  As we pray this Angelus, we may join Mary in her “yes”, we may adhere trustingly to the beauty of God’s plan and to the providence that he has assigned to us in his grace.  Then God’s love will also, as it were, take flesh in our lives, becoming ever more tangible.  In all our cares we need have no fear.  God is good.  At the same time we know that we are sustained by the fellowship of the many believers who are now praying the Angelus with us throughout the world, via radio and television.

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary…

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, 
Thy grace into our hearts; 
that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, 
was made known by the message of an angel, 
may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, 
through the same Christ Our Lord.
AMEN.

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7 February: Pope Benedict’s Angelus IV.

Pope Leo XIII

There is a tradition for the Pope to greet pilgrims at Angelus time, around midday, and share a few thoughts, often on the readings for the day. We are glad to offer a selection from Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections, aimed at a general audience rather than academic theologians. Sometimes there are interesting asides addressed to particular groups of pilgrims, showing Benedict’s human side. Another from the Papal Residence at Castel Gandolfo, rarely visited by Pope Francis, dated 5 September 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First I would like to apologize for arriving late! I have just returned from Carpineto Romano where, 200 years ago, Pope Leo XIII, Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci, was born. I thank the Lord for having been able to celebrate the Eucharist with his fellow citizens on this important anniversary. I now wish briefly to present my Message published a few days ago addressed to the young people of the world for the 26th World Youth Day that will be taking place in Madrid in a little less than a year.

The theme I have chosen for this Message uses an expression from St Paul’s Letter to the Colossians: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (2: 7). It is definitely a proposal that goes against the tide! Indeed who today suggests to young people that they be “rooted” and “firm”? Rather uncertainty, mobility and volubility are extolled… all aspects that reflect a culture unsure about basic values, about the principles on whose basis to direct and regulate life. In fact, because of my experience and the contacts I have with youth I know well that every generation, indeed, every individual person, is called to take anew the path of the discovery of life’s meaning. And it is for this very reason that I chose to propose again a Message in the biblical style that evokes the images of a tree and a house. A young person, in fact, is like a growing tree: to develop healthily it needs deep roots which when stormy gales come will keep it firmly planted in the ground. The image of the building under construction also recalls the need for good foundations so that the house will be solid and safe.

And this is the heart of the Message: it is inherent in the words “in Christ” and “in the faith”. The full maturity of the person, his or her inner stability, are founded in the relationship with God, a relationship that passes through an encounter with Jesus Christ. A relationship of deep trust, of authentic friendship with Jesus, can give a young person what he or she needs to face life: serenity and interior enlightenment, an aptitude for thinking positively, broadmindedness with regard to others, the readiness to pay in person for goodness, justice and truth. One last and very important aspect: in order to become a believer a young person is supported by the faith of the Church; if no one is an island, neither is the Christian who discovers in the Church the beauty of faith shared with others in brotherhood and in the service of charity.

My Message to young people is dated 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. May the light of Christ’s Face shine in the heart of every young person! And may the Virgin Mary accompany and protect communities and youth groups towards the important Meeting in Madrid in 2011.


After the Angelus:

I address a special Greeting to the community of Castel Gandolfo which is celebrating today the feast of its Patron, St Sebastian, and I willingly extend it to the delegation that has come from Châteauneuf du Pape. I wish you all a good Sunday.

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6 February: Benedict Angelus III.

Broadstairs Baptist Church, England.

There is a tradition for the Pope to greet pilgrims at Angelus time, around midday, and share a few thoughts, often on the readings for the day. We are glad to offer a selection from Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections, aimed at a general audience rather than academic theologians. Sometimes there are interesting asides addressed to particular groups of pilgrims, showing Benedict’s human side. This audience took place at the Courtyard of the Papal Residence, Castel Gandolfo, Sunday, 29 August 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 14: 1, 7-14), we find Jesus as a guest dining at the house of a Pharisee leader. Noting that the guests were choosing the best places at table, he recounted a parable in the setting of a marriage feast. “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honour, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come, and say to you, “Give place to this man’…. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place” (Lk 14: 8-10). The Lord does not intend to give a lesson on etiquette or on the hierarchy of the different authorities. Rather, he insists on a crucial point, that of humility: “Every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 14: 11). A deeper meaning of this parable also makes us think of the position of the human being in relation to God. The “lowest place” can in fact represent the condition of humanity degraded by sin, a condition from which the Incarnation of the Only-Begotten Son alone can raise it. For this reason Christ himself “took the lowest place in the world the Cross and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Estn. 35).

At the end of the parable Jesus suggests to the Pharisee leader that he invite to his table not his friends, kinsmen or rich neighbours, but rather poorer and more marginalized people who can in no way reciprocate (cf. Lk 14: 13-14), so that the gift may be given freely. The true reward, in fact, will ultimately be given by God, “who governs the world…. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Estn. 35). Once again, therefore, let us look to Christ as a model of humility and of giving freely: let us learn from him patience in temptation, meekness in offence, obedience to God in suffering, in the hope that the One who has invited us will say to us: “Friend, go up higher” (cf. Lk 14: 10). Indeed, the true good is being close to him. St Louis IX, King of France whose Memorial was last Wednesday put into practice what is written in the Book of Sirach: “The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favour in the sight of the Lord” (3: 18). This is what the King wrote in his “Spiritual Testament to his son”: “If the Lord grant you some prosperity, not only must you humbly thank him but take care not to become worse by boasting or in any other way, make sure, that is, that you do not come into conflict with God or offend him with his own gifts” (cf. Acta Sanctorum Augusti 5 [1868], 546).

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5 February: Pope Benedict’s Angelus II.

There is a tradition for the Pope to greet pilgrims at Angelus time, around midday, and share a few thoughts, often on the readings for the day. We are glad to offer a selection from Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections, aimed at a general audience rather than academic theologians. Sometimes there are interesting asides addressed to particular groups of pilgrims, showing Benedict’s human side. This post is from 3 January 2010.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am glad to renew to all my wishes for every good in the Lord! Problems are not lacking in the Church and in the world, as well as in the daily life of families, but thanks be to God our hope is not based on improbable predictions or financial forecasts, however important these may be. Our hope is in God. We trust in God who revealed completely and definitively in Jesus Christ his desire to be with human beings, to share in our history, to guide us all to his Kingdom of love and life. And this great hope enlivens and at times corrects our human hopes.

Three extraordinarily rich biblical Readings speak to us today of this revelation: chapter 24 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, the opening hymn of St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and the Prologue of John’s Gospel. These texts affirm that God is not only the Creator of the universe, an aspect common to other religions too, but that he is the Father who “chose us in him before the foundation of the world…. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1: 4-5), and that for this reason he even, inconceivably, went so far as to make himself man: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1: 14). The mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God was prepared in the Old Testament, in particular where divine Wisdom is identified with the Mosaic Law. Wisdom herself says: “The Creator of all things… assigned a place for my tent. And he said: “Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive your inheritance'” (Sir 24: 8). In Jesus Christ the Law of God became a living testimony, written in the heart of a man in whom, through the action of the Holy Spirit the fullness of deity resides in bodily form (cf. Col 2: 9).

Dear friends, this is the true reason for humanity’s hope: history has meaning because it is “inhabited” by the Wisdom of God. And yet the divine plan is not automatically implemented because it is a plan of love, and love generates freedom and requires freedom. The Kingdom of God certainly comes, indeed it is already present in history and thanks to Christ’s coming has already conquered the negative power of the Evil One. However, all men and women are responsible for welcoming him into their own lives, day after day. Therefore even the year 2010 will be “good” to the extent that each of us, according to his or her own responsibilities, can work with God’s grace. Thus let us turn to the Virgin Mary to learn this spiritual disposition from her. The Son of God did not take flesh from her without her consent. Every time the Lord wants to take a step forward with us toward the “promised land”, he first knocks at our hearts. He waits, so to speak, for our “yes”, in small decisions as in important ones. May Mary help us always to accept God’s will with humility and courage, so that the trials and suffering of life may help to hasten the coming of his Kingdom of justice and peace.

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4 February: Pope Benedict’s Angelus I, 1/1/2010

There is a tradition for the Pope to greet pilgrims at Angelus time, around midday and share a few thoughts, often on the readings for the day. We are glad to offer a selection from Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections, aimed at a general audience rather than academic theologians. Sometimes there are interesting asides addressed to particular groups of pilgrims, showing Benedict’s human side.

I am glad to meet you for this first Angelus of 2010. I address those of you who have gathered in large numbers in St Peter’s Square and also those who have joined us in our prayer via radio and television. I wish for you all that the year which has just begun may be a time in which, with the Lord’s help, we may satisfy Christ and God’s will, and thus also improve this world of ours.

One objective that may be shared by everyone, an indispensable condition for peace, is the administration of the earth’s natural resources fairly and wisely. “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation”, is the timely theme to which I have dedicated my Message for today’s 43rd World Day of Peace. When the Message was published, the Heads of State and Government were meeting in Copenhagen for the Summit on the climate at which, once again, the urgent need for concerted approaches at the global level became apparent. At this moment, however, I would like to stress the importance that the decisions of individuals, families and local administrations also have in the preservation of the environment. “We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new life-styles” (cf. Message, n. 11). In fact we are all responsible for the protection and care of creation. Therefore in this field too education is fundamental; to learn to respect nature, to be increasingly disposed; to begin building peace “with far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and states” (ibid.).

If we must care for the creatures that surround us, what consideration we should have for people, our brothers and sisters! What respect for human life! On the first day of the year I would like to address an appeal to the consciences of all who belong to armed groups of any kind. I say to each and every one: stop, think and abandon the path of violence! At the moment this step might seem impossible to you; but if you have the courage to take it, God will assist you and you will feel returning to your hearts the joy of peace which perhaps you have forgotten for some time. I entrust this appeal to the intercession of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God. The Liturgy today reminds us that eight days after the birth of the Child, together with Joseph her husband she had him circumcised, in accordance with Mosaic law, and called him Jesus, the name given to him by the Angel (cf. Lk 2: 21). This name, which means “God saves”, is the fulfilment of God’s revelation. Jesus is the Face of God, he is the blessing for every person and for all peoples, he is peace for the world. Thank you, Blessed Mother, who gave birth to the Saviour, the Prince of Peace!

Elham parish church, Kent.

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16 January Synod Newsletter, January 21.

General Secretariat of the Synod
https://www.synod.va – media@synod.
#newsletter n.21 – 01/2023 – Available also in FR – PT – ES – ITShareTweetForwardShare
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
 
Happy 2023! We resume our journey with our regular newsletters. 2023 will be a rich and particularly important year for the synodal conversion of the Church. Next October will see the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (4-29 October 2023). In this Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis wished to remind us of the eminently spiritual character of this assembly, announcing the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in which he invites each of us to join. Indeed, as we prepare to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme “Learn to do good, seek justice”, (Isaiah 1:17), the Holy Father reminds us that “The path of synodality … is and must be ecumenical, just as the ecumenical path is synodal” (Audience to His Holiness Mar Awa III, 19.11.2022).
 
But let us not be too hasty. In this second stage of the synodal process – the Continental Stage concerning the dialogue between the Churches of the same region, we are all called to continue the exercise of listening and discernment with the help of the Working Document for the Continental Stage, which you can find in several languages on our website synod.va
By the way, to keep you updated on the Continental Assemblies, I invite you to visit our websites synod.va and synodresources.org periodically. Some journalists from Vatican Media are preparing to cover and inform you about these meetings. You can also follow them through vaticannews.va

But that is not all. There are a number of initiatives underway aimed at your formation such as the Sophia University Institute course and the Mooc organised by a number of theologians from the Theology Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod, or even a Press Conference to learn a little more about the synod process in Africa, next 17 January.
 
However, the New Year opened with the sad news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was also the former President of the General Secretariat of the Synod, and who, as a theologian, had also addressed the topic of Synodality. We would like to remember this man of God with the homily at the Mass in suffrage that Cardinal Grech addressed to the faithful gathered in Gozo Cathedral.
I’m getting too long…. I leave it to you to discover the rest.
Enjoy the reading

Thierry Bonaventura
Communication Manager
SAVE THE DATES
The synodal process in Africa
On Tuesday 17 January 2023 at 12 noon in Rome (GMT +1) there will be a press conference to present the synodal process in Africa during which some of the general secretaries of the sub-regional Episcopal bodies of the Continent will speak. It will be possible to follow the press conference on the Synod’s Facebook channel (facebook.com/synod.va).
To access the press conference, journalists must….Read more here

Training Course on SynodalityOn 17 January at 6 p.m. Rome time (GTM +1) with addresses by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, and Monsignor Piero Coda, Secretary General of the International Theological Commission, the multilingual Formation Course on Synodality promoted by the Sophia University Institute – Evangelii Gaudium Centre will be opened…

Read more here
New Intensive Course (MOOC) on Synodality
Following the success of the previous edition that was attended by no less than 90,000 people, this second intercontinental online course will focus on the history, theology and practice of synodality.
The MOOC, which is completely free of charge, will take place online starting in February with lectures available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.Read more here

Ecumenical Vigil Prayer
In this Sunday’s after Angelus and on the eve of the celebration of the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis recalled how “the path to Christian unity and the Church’s path of synodal conversion are linked”.
To underline this close link, the announcement of an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil, next 30 September in St. Peter’s Square to which he invites “brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations” and with which “we will entrust to God the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops”.
To the young people who will come to Rome to participate in the ecumenical vigil Prayer, the Pope announced that there will be “a special programme throughout that weekend organized by the Taizé community”.Read more

Ratzinger’s choice

In his homily at the Mass in suffrage of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, dwells on the figure of this giant of the faith in constant search of Truth.Go to the Homily

World Women’s Observatory launches a survey
The World Women’s Observatory (WWO), a project of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations  (WUCWO), has created a survey for women in positions of leadership in the 2021-2024 Synod. The survey is in response to concerns regarding the role of women in the Church expressed in the WDCS (Working Document for the Continental Stage).
The survey is anonymous, very brief and in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic. The first deadline for the Survey is February 1, 2023

Read more here

Pray for the Synod
In order to support the synodal journey and ask for the Spirit’s assistance, together with the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and UISG, we have set up a website in 5 languages: Church on the Way. Pray for the Synod. You too can send your prayer. See how to do it… 

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5 January: You will not be alone when you arrive

Here are two paragraphs from Bishop Nicholas Hudson’s homily at a Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The full text can be found at Independent Catholic News.

‘Now, as he prepares to come before the Lord, I trust he will have been encouraged and strengthened by his own conviction, some years ago, when speaking in 1978 to priests who were celebrating their Golden Jubilee of Ordination. Because he sought to reassure them: “When, some day,” he told them, “you knock at the door of heaven, you need not be afraid.” For, “as pastors you will have accompanied (diverse) people… in their hours of joy and their hours of grief and suffering. You (will) have helped people to live and to die. So you have many friends (both) on this side of the threshold and beyond it. (And so) you will not be alone when you arrive.”‘1

‘I trust he also derived consolation from his own contemplation of St John Henry Newman’s Dream of Gerontius to which he made enthusiastic reference at the climax of his Beatification homily. It is deeply moving to think Pope Benedict now knows what it is like to realise that it is indeed really happening for him what Cardinal Newman imagines in his Dream of Gerontius will be for each of us – at the moment of death to be borne upwards by your guardian angel, to see God and, in instant, to know your sin and the need to atone for it; and so be borne away to purgatory, there to prepare your soul until your angel comes to take you back again – with the promise, the sweet promise, that meanwhile Masses on earth and prayers in heaven will help you – as we pray this Mass, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, will indeed help and console and encourage this our dear departed brother Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI this night.’

1 Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, Teaching and Learning the Love of God, San Francisco 2017, 348-9

Let us add our prayers to all Pope Benedict’s friends on this side of the threshold as well as beyond; may he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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Pope Benedict’s Funeral.

For any reader who wishes to follow the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, please use the link below. It will give you a leaflet in Latin, Italian and English.

You can view the funeral live on EWTN here.

These are the prayers of Final Commendation and Farewell after Communion, to be followed by a moment for silent prayer:

Dear brothers and sisters, in celebrating the sacred mysteries we have opened our minds and hearts to joy-filled hope; with confidence we now offer our final farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict and commend him to God, our merciful and loving Father.

May the God of our fathers, through Jesus Christ, his only Son, in the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, deliver Pope Emeritus Benedict from death, that he may sing God’s praises in the heavenly Jerusalem in expectation of the resurrection of his mortal body on the last day.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Salus Populi Romani, intercede before the Eternal Father, that he may reveal the face of Jesus his Son to Pope Emeritus Benedict and console the Church on her pilgrimage through history as she awaits the Lord’s return.

After Pope Francis incenses the mortal remains of Benedict XVI, the pope will pray in Latin:

Gracious Father, we commend to your mercy Pope Emeritus Benedict whom you made Successor of Peter and shepherd of the Church, a fearless preacher of your word and a faithful minister of the divine mysteries.

Welcome him, we pray, into your heavenly dwelling place, to enjoy eternal glory with all your chosen ones. We give you thanks, Lord, for all the blessings that in your goodness you bestowed upon him for the good of your people.

Grant us the comfort of faith and the strength of hope.

To you Father, source of life, through Christ, the conqueror of death, in the life-giving Spirit, be all honor and glory forever and ever.

The choir and the congregation will sing the following Antiphons:

May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come and welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

May choirs of angels welcome you and with Lazarus, who is poor no longer may you have eternal rest.

As Benedict XVI’s coffin is carried to his place of burial in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, the choir will sing the Magnificat in Latin.

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Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Francis has asked for special prayers for Pope Emeritus Benedict. He is 95 years old and suffering other symptoms.

This photo shows Benedict presiding at a Christmas meal for poor people and their supporters. Before this there was a protocol that the Pope never ate in public let alone with poor people. This excused a Pope from state banquets but other faithful were not deemed worthy to share a meal with him. No longer so, thanks to Pope Benedict.

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