ASH WEDNESDAY 2013
I am just sitting here at my computer the day after hearing the news about the resignation of our Holy Father Pope Benedict. As i’m sure you know this news came yesterday around midday Irish Time as a complete bolt out of the blue to use Cardinal Sodanos words and that is certainly what it was. In two weeks time the Catholic Community throughout the world will be like sheep without a shepherd as the Pope resigns the See of Peter at 8pm on the 28th of February. The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office explained that the Holy Father “will move to Castel Gandolfo on 28 February, and, once he has finished the tasks he has in progress, he will take up residence in the former cloistered monastery in the Vatican. The process for the election of a new Pope will begin on 1ST March. We do not yet know the exact date of the conclave, but obviously there will be no need to wait the normal eight days of mourning (novendali) after the death of the Pope. Thus, in two weeks, during the month of March, in time for Easter, we will have a new Pope … Benedict XVI will have no role in next March’s conclave, nor in the running of the Church during the time between popes, the time of Sede Vacante. The Apostolic Constitution gives no role in this transition to a pope who resigns.” So after all of this we now face into Ash Wednesday and our time of Lenten Prayer, the Church never stops amazing its people as we have seen. So then, in this season of repentance let us rethink how we treat one another. With the certain aid of the Holy Spirit, let us focus not on sin, but on service — service to one another and therefore to God.
For if we are truly focused on serving, we will not readily sin, because our focus is truly on what God desires unconditional love of all His precious children. We also need to pray during this first part of Lent for the Church local and world-wide and its leadership. We also need to pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire the Cardinal Electors when they come to elect the next pope to elect the man who will lead us Catholics along the roads that lead to Salvation.