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With humility he came to the papacy, and with humility he left. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI bade farewell to the public world today. I’m still taking it in. The Church is pope-less for a time. Sedes vacans. While I was watching videos of his departure from Vatican City, I felt awe at the fact that I was witnessing such an historical moment. I also felt a touch of sadness. But I know Papa Benedict will be a great prayer-warrior for the Church and the world, and I am grateful for that. I hope and pray that this gentle scholar–that is how I will always remember him most–will enjoy serenity and some refreshment for the rest of his days. I hope he will continue to bless us with his writing as well.
At the same time, let us pray very hard for the cardinals who will be in the upcoming conclave. As Papa Benedict himself said in his farewell address to them, the future pope is among them. We must pray for their discernment, for their careful attention to the voice and motion of the Holy Spirit. In addition to praying for the college of cardinals as a whole, perhaps you might want to adopt a cardinal and pray for him in particular. I am praying for my adopted cardinal, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary.