With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday, February 28, 2013, the Chair of Peter is vacant for the first time in eight years. A date has not yet been set for the conclave that will elect a new pope; the date cannot be established until all 115 voting members of the College of Cardinals arrive in Rome, and as of March 5, seven cardinals are still on their way.
That does not mean, however, that those of us who do not have a vote in the upcoming conclave should simply sit back and wait. We have our own role to play, and chief among our duties is prayer.
Archbishop William Lori, the supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, has written a Prayer for a New Pope, which many bishops throughout the United States have ordered to be recited at Mass in the parishes in their dioceses. We can pray it outside of Mass as well; and so, as we await further news from Rome, I have chosen this Prayer for a New Pope as our novena this week.