Prayers for Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on the Announcement of his Resignation

Just a few months ago, I read an interesting book titled The Pope Who Quit that tells the fascinating tale of the election and subsequent resignation of Pope Celestine V in 1294, the only pope to ever abdicate the Chair of St. Peter. That story provides a context for us to understand just how historic is the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Given the significance of this moment, it is evident that our Holy Father has grappled mightily with his decision and, more than anything else, it beckons us to keep him in prayer as he struggles with his health.

So, why is this such a big deal for us Catholics?

First, because it just doesn’t happen! In 2000 years, this is only the 2nd time we will have a “retired” pope in our midst. Secondly, and more importantly, the Pope is much more than the CEO of the Catholic Church. He is a symbol of unity for the 800 million Catholics worldwide as well as a symbol of the presence of Christ in our midst, who leads and guides us, by virtue of his Holy Spirit, through the Magisterium of the Church. As a Church, we turn to Scripture and Tradition – one single deposit of faith – as our source of authority. The “office” of pope is part of that living Tradition, so, yes, it is a big deal when a transition occurs at that level.

As the media now begins its wild speculation of Benedict’s successor, let us turn to that same Holy Spirit to calmly pray for the guidance and inspiration that our bishops will need to select someone who will lead us to continue to faithfully fulfill Christ’s mission.

About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

5 Comments on Prayers for Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on the Announcement of his Resignation

    • Hi William. I’m using the words interchangably…both mean to relinquish an office. It seems that Pope Celestine’s situation is the most similar to Benedict’s in terms of a Pope deciding that he is no longer capable of carrying out the duties whereas the other situations seem to involve more complexities such as schisms and imprisonments!

  1. As we celebrate the feast of Oour Lady of Lourdes, let us pray that our Blessed Mother will continue to watch over us during this critical time.

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