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Archive for February, 2013

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

sede-vacanteVATICAN CITY (CNS) — It is possible the world’s cardinals will not begin meeting at the Vatican until March 4, and they cannot set a start date for the conclave until they have met, the Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will send out letters March 1 — a Friday — formally informing the world’s cardinals that the papacy is vacant and calling them to meet at the Vatican.

“It is likely they will not meet Saturday or Sunday,” he said, so the meetings are unlikely to begin before Monday, March 4. As of Feb. 26, he said, it was impossible to say how long the cardinals would want to meet before they feel ready to announce a date for the conclave to begin. (more…)

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Pope Benedict XVI honored at Mass

 

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Southeast Texans gathered to say farewell and to pray for Pope Benedixt XVI during his last day as pontiff. Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, celebrated Mass at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont, Feb. 28. Bishop Guillory reminded the faithful that they are all involved in the choosing of a new pope.

 

“We are all helping choose the next pope when we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the Cardinals,” Bishop Guillory said. (more…)

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By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

Pope Benedict XVI blesses people gathered in the town square after arriving in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Feb. 28. It was his final public appearance before he drew to a close his papacy. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI blesses people gathered in the town square after arriving in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Feb. 28. It was his final public appearance before he drew to a close his papacy. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Benedict XVI, who began his papacy describing himself as a “humble servant in the Lord’s vineyard,” described his retirement as a time of being a “simple pilgrim, who begins the last stage of his pilgrimage on this earth.”

The 85-year-old pope arrived in Castel Gandolfo Feb. 28 about two-and-a-half hours before the end of his pontificate.

He planned to spend about two months at the papal villa south of Rome before moving into a former monastery in the Vatican Gardens.

The pope arrived in a helicopter from the Vatican and rode by car through the fields and formal gardens of the papal villa before reaching the residence.

Hours before he arrived, townspeople, pilgrims and visitors began filling the main square outside the papal residence. As they waited for the pope, they prayed the rosary.

As soon as he entered the residence, the pope went upstairs and, standing on the balcony overlooking the main square, he greeted the crowd.

“Dear friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of creation and by your friendship, which does me such good,” he told them.

“You know that for me, today is different than the days that have gone before. You know that I am no longer supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church — until 8 o’clock I will be, but not after that.”

“I am a simple pilgrim who begins the last stage of his pilgrimage on this earth,” he told them. “But with all my heart, with all my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, with all my interior strength, I still want to work for the common good and the good of the church and humanity,” he told them. (more…)

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By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the College of Cardinals at the Vatican Feb. 28, the final day of his papacy. In attendance were 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 younger than 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. (CNS pho to/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the College of Cardinals at the Vatican Feb. 28, the final day of his papacy. In attendance were 144 cardinals, including many of the 115 younger than 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave. (CNS pho to/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Clementine Hall is traditionally the place where cardinals bid farewell to popes at the end of a pontificate, but usually when the pope in question is lying in state before his funeral.

But on Feb. 28, hours before resigning from the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI briefly addressed the College of Cardinals, calling for unity and harmony among the men who will choose his successor and pledging his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to the next pope.

Pope Benedict addressed144 cardinals, including many of the 115 under the age of 80 who are eligible and expected to vote in the upcoming conclave.

“I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next days, that you may be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope,” Pope Benedict told the gathering in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. “May the Lord show you what is wanted of you. Among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope, to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience.”

The cardinals are expected to begin meeting March 4 to plan the papal election.

Looking back on his almost eight-year pontificate, Pope Benedict recalled “very beautiful moments of radiant light on the path of the church, together with moments in which the occasional cloud thickened in the sky.” (more…)

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By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.

“I will continue to accompany the path of the church with prayer and reflection, with that dedication to the Lord and to his bride that I have tried to live every day till now and that I want to live always,” the pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square Feb. 27, the eve of his resignation.

Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 40s, the pope arrived for his last public audience shortly after 10:30 a.m., standing and waving for almost 15 minutes as his white popemobile made a circuit through the square. Cheering pilgrims waved national flags and banners with slogans such as “always with the pope” and “you will never be alone.”

The crowd spilled over into the adjacent Via della Conciliazione, which had been closed to motorized traffic, and the Vatican estimated turnout at 150,000. (more…)

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By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

Cardinal Keith O'Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, is pictured after a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Nov. 21, 2010, file photo. Cardinal O'Brien, 74, announced Feb. 25 that he will not participate in the conclave to elec t Pope Benedict XVI's successor. His resignation was accepted by the pope Feb. 18. The cardinal has been accused of "inappropriate conduct" by three priests and a former priest. He has denied the allegations. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, is pictured after a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in this Nov. 21, 2010, file photo. Cardinal O’Brien, 74, announced Feb. 25 that he will not participate in the conclave to elec t Pope Benedict XVI’s successor. His resignation was accepted by the pope Feb. 18. The cardinal has been accused of “inappropriate conduct” by three priests and a former priest. He has denied the allegations. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, 74, announced he would not participate in the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor because he did not want media attention focused on him instead of the election of a new pope.

Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the cardinal’s resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh Feb. 18, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman told reporters Feb. 25.

The British newspaper The Observer reported Feb. 23 that three priests and a former priest had accused the cardinal of “inappropriate conduct” with them going back to the 1980s. Father Lombardi had told reporters Feb. 24 that Pope Benedict had been informed about the accusations and “the issue is now in his hands.”

Cardinal O’Brien, 74, has denied the allegations and, according to his spokesman, is seeking legal advice.

Father Lombardi said Feb. 25 that Cardinal O’Brien, who was required by church law to offer his resignation before his 75th birthday in March, had presented his letter to the pope in November. In accepting the resignation, the pope did not give any order about whether the cardinal could participate in the upcoming conclave to elect his successor, Father Lombardi said.

In a statement distributed by the Catholic Media Office in Glasgow, Cardinal O’Brien said, “I also ask God’s blessing on my brother cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me — but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the church.”

Under the rules governing the conclave, all cardinals under the age of 80 “are required, in virtue of holy obedience, to obey the announcement of convocation and to proceed to the place designated for this purpose, unless they are hindered by sickness or by some other grave impediment, which, however, must be recognized as such by the College of Cardinals.” (more…)

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Drexel Humanitarians answer need

healthfair5For many in the Diocese of Beaumont medical care is a luxury that they simply can’t afford. Feb. 23 hundreds of Southeast Texans were able to get the medical attention they need at the St. Katharine Drexel Health Fair Feb. 23 at Martin Luther King Middle School, Beaumont.

Attendees of all ages were able to sit down with medical professionals and seek services in the areas of women’s health, eye and hearing screenings, dermatology, dental, vaccinations, cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure screenings. (more…)

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