Here’s how to pray the U.S. bishops’ special novena for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Benedict in state A woman prays in St. Peter's Basilica on Jan. 4, 2023, during the final day that the body of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is lying in state | Daniel Ibañez/CNA

The U.S. bishops are calling on American Catholics to join them in praying a novena for the soul of the late Pope Benedict XVI, beginning the day of his funeral, Jan. 5. 

“The entire Church mourns the death of our Emeritus Holy Father, Benedict XVI,” an introductory statement on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website said. “This novena has been prepared to help pray for the Pope Emeritus during this time.”

The 95-year-old Benedict, who served as pope from 2005 through 2013, died Dec. 31. His funeral will be held Thursday, Jan. 5, in St. Peter’s Square at 9:30 a.m. Rome time. For more information about how to watch coverage of the funeral on EWTN and its social media platforms, read CNA’s guide here.

The novena, published on the USCCB website, consists of nine days of prayer and reflection on Scripture and ecclesiastical texts about God’s establishment of the papacy and Church. The faithful are encouraged to participate in the novena from Jan. 5 through Jan. 13. 

To access the novena, click here

Each portion of the novena calls the faithful to meditate on the role of the pope as the successor of St. Peter, the first pope. 

The first day of the novena, to be prayed on Jan. 5, quotes excerpts from Matthew 16, which reads: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The U.S. bishops call on the faithful to “ask God to bestow his infinite mercy on the man who served the Church as Bishop of Rome.”

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