Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in 600 years, will step down from the papacy on February 28, so Catholic groups are launching prayer campaigns for a successful papal transition.
The Knights of Columbus (KofC), the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, asks all Catholics to pray every day for the church and Pope Benedict XVI, as he leaves his post and the cardinals choose a new pope during the conclave.
The prayer campaign follows the public request of Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday for prayers for his health, his successor, and the Catholic Church.
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, the 265th pontiff (a.k.a. Bishop of Rome, Holy Father, and Vicar of Christ), also thanked the people who always included him in their personal prayers.
The Knights of Columbus urges Catholics to register electronically their pledge to pray at the Prayer for the Church website.
Online pledgers’ names will be at the Installation Mass of the newly elected pontiff.
Printed prayer cards are also available from the Knights of Columbus for parishes, schools, and local KofC councils worldwide.
On social media, people can send their support for the pope through by tweeting “I am praying for you” with an appended #prayerforthechurch hashtag to the pope’s official twitter account @pontifex.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, wrote the prayer that reads,
O Lord Jesus Christ , Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.
Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter’s faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.
Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson requests Catholics to urge their family and friends to pray until members of the conclave have elected a new pope.
A veteran member and head of Vatican committees, Anderson has worked with Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Blessed John Paul II.
In a statement early last week, he said the pope has always been a good friend to the Knights of Columbus.