Bishop asks prayers at Masses for pope; sets Feb. 28 holy hour

Photo Caption: Pope Benedict XVI leaves following an audience at the Vatican Feb. 15. Bishop Jenky will preside at a holy hour at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Feb. 28, the day the pope has announced he will resign.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has directed that prayers be included at every Mass in the Diocese of Peoria through Feb. 28 in thanksgiving to God for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI.

In a decree issued on Feb. 15, the bishop also asked that after Feb. 28 and through the conclave to elect a new pope, prayers at Masses be offered to the Holy Spirit for guidance and inspiration.

In addition, Bishop Jenky announced that he will preside at a holy hour at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, to prayerfully gather as a diocese during this historic time in the church.

“This holy hour will be an opportunity for us to gather as a diocese and reflect on the Pope’s excellent leadership, wisdom and holiness,” wrote Bishop Jenky in a letter to All Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria on Feb. 14. “It will be an opportunity to pray for his health and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as a new pope is elected. I hope that many of you can join me for this time of prayer.”

In the Feb. 15 decree, Bishop Jenky also gave permission for priests of the diocese to offer special Masses on certain days during Lent for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and, after Feb. 28, for the election of his successor.

In an accompanying letter from the Office of Divine Worship, Msgr. Stanley Deptula said the prayers at Mass could include special devotions before or after Mass, such as rosaries for the pope’s intentions and in thanksgiving for his ministry. He also offered five sample intentions for use with the General Intercessions.

TEXTS OF LETTER, DECREE
Following is the full text of Bishop Jenky’s Feb. 14 letter:

“To the Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Peoria,

“Earlier this week we were all quite shocked to learn of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will be abdicating the Petrine ministry on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Certainly this historic event deserves our prayer. I invite you to join me for a holy hour at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, on Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

“This holy hour will be an opportunity for us to gather as a diocese and reflect on the Pope’s excellent leadership, wisdom and holiness. It will be an opportunity to pray for his health and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as a new pope is elected. I hope that many of you can join me for this time of prayer.”

—–

Following is the full text of the Feb. 15 decree:

During these historic days for the Church, I hereby decree that the priests of the Diocese of Peoria are permitted to offer Special Masses for the Various Needs and Occasions, or Votive Masses, during the Season of Lent, excluding Sundays, Solemnities, and Holy Week, in accordance with the norms of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

Priests should use their good judgment as to which orations and on which days would be most advantageous for the faithful. Masses in thanksgiving for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI would be most appropriate as well as Masses “For the Church: for the Pope.” After February 28, 2013, the texts for Masses “For the Church: for the Election of a Pope” should be used.

In particular, I direct that between now and February 28th, prayers should be included at every Mass in Thanksgiving to God for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI. And during the “sede vacante” and especially through the conclave, prayers should be offered to the Holy Spirit for His guidance and inspiration. Sample prayers will be forwarded to you in the near future.

Given at my Chancery, this 15th Day of February, AD 2013.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC
BISHOP OF PEORIA

Attest:

Msgr. James Kruse, JCL
Vicar General
Judicial Vicar”

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