As Catholics worldwide gather to mark the first day of Lent, Feb 13, the Holy Father will celebrate his last Ash Wednesday as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican Basilica, asking the faithful to pray for him and the new Pope.
Thousands flocked to witness Pope Benedict’s general audience address at the Vatican this Ash Wednesday, where His Holiness thanked the masses for their prayers and requested more for himself and the future leader of the Catholic Church.
I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me. Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope, the Lord will guide us.
Instead of the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina, where the traditional celebration of Ash Wednesday is held, Pope Benedict will preside over the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes in the Vatican Basilica, his last as he prepares to retire February 28.
Catholics and Church leaders globally were surprised by Pope Benedict’s recent announcement declaring his soon to be resignation, however the faith will continue on, standing up yet again to another bout of Catholic bashing as certain media outlets took the Pope’s retirement as a way to chastise Catholicism.
The religion is strong as witness to the hoards who attended Ash Wednesday service on Long Island marking the beginning of Lent and 40 days of selflessness until Palm Sunday.
Check the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s website to find a Catholic Church nearest you as there is still time to be blessed this Ash Wednesday, with services running into the evening hours.
Deirdre Haggerty, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC, DBA Examiner.com.