Homily for The Octave Day of Christmas, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

This morning (Saturday, December 21, 2022) Bishop Peter sent out a message to the priests of the diocese that Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI has gone to His Eternal Reward. The Vatican made the announcement of his death at 10:30am Rome time on Dec. 31 in a short statement translated into several languages as follows: “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” Vatican Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said. “Further information will be provided as soon as possible.”

Since then the Vatican added that, from Jan. 2nd until January 5th, the body of the pope emeritus will rest in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican “for the faithful to bid farewell.”

Benedict XVI’s funeral will be celebrated by Pope Francis at 9:30am on Thursday, Jan. 5th, in St. Peter’s Square. He also disclosed that the pope emeritus received last rites on Wednesday afternoon after the Holy Mass. The former pope— became the oldest person to be elected pope since 1730. He was the first German pope since the 11th century. On 11 February 2013, Benedict announced his resignation, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. He served from 2005-2013 before becoming the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

Ordained a priest in 1951, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger began his career as an academic and philosopher. At the age of 35 he became a theological adviser to the Second Vatican Council. He was appointed Archbishop of Munich and created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977. He was elected the 265th pontiff in 2005 at age 78.

On being the oldest person elected to the papacy at 78, and an academic, he did not think he would travel as much as his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who holds the record for papal travelling.

He soon realized that the Pope must go to where the people are in order for them to see the Church as present and active in their lives. In the first five years alone, Pope Benedict traveled to six continents and 29 countries, covering about 60,000 miles.

Benedict made one trip to the United States in 2008. The Pope arrived in Washington, D.C. on 15 April, and spent the next week traveling to several cities across the country, including New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans.

Benedict met with President George W. Bush at the White House. While there he celebrated his 81st birthday, with a crowd of 9000 people singing Happy Birthday to him from the South Lawn of the White House.

He addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He also visited Ground Zero in New York, where he offered a prayer for the victims of the September 11th attacks. He also visited a school in Harlem

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, where he spoke about the importance of education in helping young people to grow and develop into responsible citizens.

In Baltimore, he visited with refugees and highlighted the importance of compassion and understanding in responding to the needs of refugees and other vulnerable populations.

In a personal note from Bishop Peter, he writes: “Pope Benedict was a great man. As you are well aware, he was the Pope who called me to be Bishop. I always saw him as a father figure, and personally thanked him for the call.

In a photo of us together, it is interesting to see the image of Christ rising from the dead in the background. Fourteen years after this meeting, the painting seems fitting for what Jesus has invited him to do, for Pope Benedict XVI is no longer bound to this earthly life as well.

He also had a wonderful sense of humor. When I mentioned to him that I had been ordained a Bishop for one year, he responded,  “Oh, I see you’re one of the older bishops.” Then, when I told him that I had been assigned by him to the Diocese of Superior, he then replied, “Oh, I see, you’re in the SUPERIOR Diocese.” Such a kind, gentle, giant of a man. Looking into his eyes were like getting a
glimpse into Eternity. He was truly a good and holy man of God. How blessed we’ve all been to have known him, and to have been under his care as Shepherd of our Church. He will be missed.”

Our Litany of the Saints
Lord, have mercy … Lord have mercy.
CHRIST, have mercy … Christ have mercy.
LORD, have mercy … Lord have mercy.
HOLY Mary, MOTHER OF GOD, pray for us.
ST. MICHAEL, pray for us.
ST. GABRIEL, pray for us.
ST. RAPHAEL, pray for us.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, pray for us.
ST. JOSEPH, pray for us.
ST. PETER, pray for us.
ST. PAUL, pray for us.
ST. ANDREW, pray for us.
ST. JAMES, pray for us.
ST. JOHN, pray for us.
ST. THOMAS, pray for us.
ST. JAMES, pray for us.
ST. PHILIP, pray for us.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW, pray for us.
ST. MATTHEW, pray for us.
ST. SIMON, pray for us.
ST. THADDEUS, pray for us.
ST. BARNABAS, pray for us
ST. BENEDICT, Pray for us.
ST. SCHOLASTICA, Pray for us.
ST. MARY MAGDALEN, pray for us.
ST. AGATHA, pray for us.
ST. LUCY, pray for us.
ST. AGNES, pray for us.
ST. CECILIA, pray for us.
ST. CATHERINE, pray for us.
ST. ANASTASIA, pray for us.
ST. POPE JOHN XXIII, pray for us.
ST. POPE PAUL VI, pray for us.

ST. POPE JOHN PAUL II, pray for us
ALL HOLY MEN AND WOMEN, pray for us.

And for the following petitions we ask “Lord hear our Prayer.”
That Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, called to the heavenly kingdom by the Lord,may rejoice forever at the banquet table of heaven, we pray to the Lord.
That Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, who served the Church as Supreme Pontiff for eight years, may worship God for ever in the liturgy of heaven, we pray to the Lord.
In gratitude for the tireless efforts of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, now called to the Lord, that these may bear fruit in unity, peace and love among all men and women, we pray to the Lord.
For Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, who preached that God is love and that we are saved in hope, that he may know God’s love forever in heaven, we pray to the Lord.
Eternal rest grant unto him o’ Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him; And may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in Peace.