Bishop Hartmayer’s letter to his priests regarding papal resignation

 

Feb 11- Feb. 28
(esp. Feb 28)
Mass for the Pope
(Pope Benedict XVI)
Mar 1- Election
(esp. opening of Conclave)
Mass for the Election of a Pope
Election- Inauguration
(esp. day of election)
Mass for the Pope

February 18, 2013

Dear Brothers,

Peace and All good things!

With shock, surprise, and admiration tinged with sadness, I heard of the resignation of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. February 11, 2013 will always be remembered. Upon hearing this news, I could not help but pray for our Holy Father as he begins this transition into another chapter of his life and exemplary service to Holy Mother Church.

During this time of transition, as a presbyterate and indeed as a whole diocese, we celebrate Mass with this on our hearts and in our minds. These are momentous days filled with prayer and anticipation. At 2:00 P.M. on February 28, 2013, the See of Peter will be vacant. From this time to the election of the new Pope, the name of the Pope is not to be mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayers.

Given these special days until February 28, I give permission in accord with No. 374 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) to celebrate on the weekdays of Lent (not on this coming Sunday) a Mass for the Pope to be found in the section “Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions: 2. For the Pope” of the Roman Missal. White vestments should be worn when celebrating this votive Mass. On February 28, I would like all the Masses celebrated that day in the Diocese of Savannah to be for Pope Benedict, for his health and well-being, and in thanksgiving for his service to the Church. Please make these Masses known to your parishioners (websites, emails, Facebook, Twitter, announcements at Masses, etc…) so that as many of the faithful as possible might participate.

When the See becomes vacant, the process to elect a new Pope begins. At publication of this letter, the specific date of the Conclave is unsure. However, between March 1, 2013 and the election of a new Pope, I give permission (GIRM, No. 374) for the Mass for the Election of a Pope or a Bishop to be celebrated, wearing white vestments, on the weekdays of Lent (not on a Sunday of Lent). On the day that the Conclave begins (a reminder will be sent out when the date is known for certain), I would like all the Masses celebrated that day in the Diocese of Savannah to be for the Election of a Pope. If the Conclave opens on a Sunday, the Mass will be the offered on Monday. During those days, we will be praying that the Holy Spirit give the College of Cardinals wisdom and discernment as they vote for the new Pope. Please make these Masses known to your parishioners (websites, emails, Facebook, Twitter, announcements at Masses, etc…) so that as many of the faithful as possible might participate.

We will all be watching Rome to hear the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and to see the white smoke stream from the chimney of the stove in the Sistine Chapel. I am sure that we will be waiting with anticipation for those words, “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam!” As the new Pope emerges on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the whole Church rejoices! Between this day that a new Pope is elected and the day of his Inaugural Mass when he receives the Fisherman’s Ring and the pallium, I give permission for the Mass for the Pope (especially on the anniversary of election) to be celebrated in the Diocese of Savannah on weekdays of Lent. This Mass cannot be used on Sundays in Lent and Easter, Solemnities, and the weekdays of Holy Week. On the day of election, if it is possible, or on the following day, I would like every Mass celebrated that day in the Diocese of Savannah to be the Mass for the Pope. Again, please make these Masses known to your parishioners (websites, emails, Facebook, Twitter, announcements at Masses, etc…) so that as many of the faithful as possible might participate.

My brothers in Christ, these are monumental and historic days for the Church. These are teachable moments for our parishioners; especially for our young people. I pray that in these days of Lent and transition in the Papacy, you find peace and joy. Let us unite as a presbyterate and as a diocese holding in our thoughts and prayers our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, the College of Cardinals, and whomever the Holy Spirit anoints to be our new Pope. Peace and blessings to you during this Lenten Pilgrimage.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.

Bishop of Savannah

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