Catholic Free Press

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  • Mar
  • 12

Diocese celebrates pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI

Posted By March 12, 2013 | 1:12 pm | Featured Article #3
Bishop McManus censes the altar during the Mass in Thanksgiving of Pope Benedict XVI. Photo by Tanya Connor
Bishop McManus censes the altar during the Mass in Thanksgiving of Pope Benedict XVI. Photo by Tanya Connor

By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – Like the Good Shepherd, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger laid down his life – by accepting his election as pope at age 78, when most people would be enjoying retirement.
Bishop McManus made this point in his homily at the Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI Thursday at St. Paul Cathedral, just hours after the pope resigned.
Pope Benedict XVI displayed humility, taking the ring off his finger, the bishop said. He said the pope did it out of love for the church, “for me and you,” for the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.
Bishop McManus said the pope taught people acceptance, and self sacrifice for the good of the church.
He spoke of Pope Benedict as an erudite, shy, humble theologian, who studied to help others know, love and serve Jesus Christ, who alone is the way, truth and life. The bishop noted that the pope wrote books about Jesus of Nazareth.
Christianity is not a lofty idea, but an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth, not a fleeting one, but one meant to change a person’s life forever, the bishop said. Christianity is about falling in love with Jesus and letting that encounter infuse every part of one’s life and overflow to others, including one’s enemies, he said.
Bishop McManus said he last met Pope Benedict a month ago in Rome. What always impressed him deeply was that he was in the presence of a man filled with serenity and humility, he said.
The bishop recalled seeing Pope Benedict in 2008 in a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Cardinal Edward Egan greeted the pope. The  congregation stood and applauded. The pope’s eyes were cast down, a faint smile on his face. The applause stopped only when he said, “Let us pray.” Then silence descended on the cathedral.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bishop McManus told his congregation that they had gathered to pray.
“We pray for our beloved Benedict XVI,” he said, and said a prayer for him.
The Mass continued with the Prayer of the Faithful, which included petitions for Pope Benedict, as he transitions into retirement, that he will know God’s peace, and the thanksgiving and love of a grateful church, and that God will grant him joy and the reward of his labor. Prayers also asked that all support the cardinals as they elect the next pope and for hope in the work of the Holy Spirit as he guides the Church in this time of transition.
Scripture readings, and songs led by the Cathedral Choirs, including children, used themes about shepherding God’s people.
Priests from around the diocese concelebrated the Mass with Bishop McManus and Bishop Reilly, assisted by several deacons. Laity from various parishes attended.
“I’m sad,” Loan Phan told The Catholic Free Press afterwards. “Pope Benedict is my favorite. I think he’s just a deep thinker. He’s the one that restored the Latin Mass.” She said she attends Latin Mass at St. Benedict Center in Still River. She never met him, but would still like to do so, she said.
When Pope John Paul II died, she said, she was really sad. But then Pope Benedict was elected and she was impressed with his look of humility, gentleness and sweetness.
“His eyes kind of conveyed the faith,” she said. She said she was glad she had come to Thursday’s Mass.
Yolanda Torres, of St. Paul Cathedral, said she saw Pope Benedict XVI while on pilgrimage to Rome in 2006, as he passed by.    “That would have been perfect if I could meet him,” she said. “I remember just kind of crying and crying – because I was happy.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Mass will be broadcast Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. on Charter cable Channel 3.

The watch the Mass online got to