BY KATY SENOUR
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel ministry coordinated a spiritual bouquet on Thursday Feb. 28 to offer prayers and thanksgiving on behalf of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s past eight years as the Holy Father.
“Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down from the awesome responsibility of the papacy. Pope Benedict has been a loving shepherd, a strong father, to us all,” read the website set up by Robert Palladino, head of FUS’s chapel ministry.
After recent news of the Holy Father’s plan to resign his papal authority, the chapel ministry found a way to show support through a spiritual bouquet arranged by Palladino, Ron McNamara and Thomas Crowe.
The chapel ministry offered spiritual support through a webpage set up specifically for counting spiritual offerings. Among the totals, 336 Holy Masses, 239 Rosaries, 155 holy hours, eight days of fasting, 62 Our Fathers, 60 Hail Marys, 22 songs of praise, 87 random acts of kindness and 201 other offerings were made for Benedict from the Franciscan community.
“It is absolutely vital for Catholics to realize their obligation year round to pray for the pope (emeritus).” said Palladino. “The Holy Father’s resignation is a healthy reminder of the duty that we, as Catholics, are all called to follow through prayer every day of our lives.”
“The sacrificial relevance of the pope’s humble resignation is especially relevant during lent as a reminder of the crosses we must bear in our own lives,” said Ronald McNamara, coordinator of student leadership development at Franciscan.
Palladino commented on the holy intentions of the pope saying: “The Holy Father’s intentions will be passed to the next pope. Knowing this, we need to be aware of the duty we have to pray for our pope.”
McNamara said: “Chapel ministry ultimately came up with the spiritual pledging of prayers and other sacrifices to show support and a manifestation of love to our (now former) pope, Benedict XVI. It is a way of showing our gratitude for his work over the past eight years and praying for his health, well-being and a new chapter in his life.”
The Spiritual Bouquet allowed Franciscan students an opportunity to support the Holy Father’s courageous decision during this Lenten period.