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How Do They Choose the Next Pope?

Busted Halo, an internet outreach of the Paulist Fathers, has a short video describing the process of conclave. Enjoy!


Well Done Good and Faithful Servant--Pope Benedict XVI Announces His Resignation From the Chair of Peter



This morning I woke up early...very early. Today was my first day back at the gym after a three month hiatus because of the health issue I was dealing with. One of my workout partners (who is not Catholic) walked in, took a look at me and said, "Wow! I didn't realize it took the resignation of a pope to get you to come back to Crossfit?!" Not surprisingly, I and the two others present (all of us Catholic), were just a little confused by his statement. He then went on to show us the news articles that were flying around the internet announcing that Pope Benedict XVI would be stepping down from the Chair of Peter effective on Feb. 28th. To say the news was a shock and surprise would be an understatement, however, I find the Holy Father's judgment and humility in this matter to be just another example of why the Holy Spirit, through the cardinals of the Church, chose him to succeed Blessed John Paul II.

Pope Benedict XVI made his announcement during a consistory that was being held at the Vatican. The Holy Father said in part:

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

The news media has been all over this announcement and from the word "go" have been gathering all manner of "experts" to weigh in on the Pope's decision. While much of the information that has been reported has been accurate,  so far, there have been several statements that have been made regarding the papal announcement that have been either misleading or false. So here are a few points to ponder as we prepare for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the convening of the conclave which will elect his successor.

  • While the resignation of a pope is extremely rare it is not unheard of. The last papal resignation took place when Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415 in order to end the Western Schism.
  • The Code of Canon Law allows for the resignation of a pope as long as it is done freely and properly manifested (cf. Can. 332, 2).
  • While Pope Benedict XVI will certainly have some sway over who will be elected the next pope, under the current rules for conclave, he is too old to vote and therefore will not participate. With that being said, the choice of a new pontiff is ultimately the Holy Spirit at work through the cardinals of the Church.
  • Speculation on who will be chosen as the next pope has already begun in the media. Technically, Church law allows for ANY baptized male Catholic to be chosen. Practically, only cardinals have been chosen since the 15th century. The election of a pope is not a popularity contest but the work of the Spirit.
  • Some have said that the next Roman pontiff will be the last chosen, based on the prophecy of St. Malachy, an 11th century Irish bishop, after which the great tribulation at the end of time will begin. The prophecy is of dubious origin and, quite frankly, irrelevant. The Lord will choose the time and the date of his return and we will not know it until it comes.

So what are we to do with the information that Pope Benedict XVI will resign effective Feb. 28? First, we should pray to God in thanksgiving for his leadership of the Church over the last eight years. Secondly, we should pray for the Holy Father's health, which is the main reason he cited for his resignation. Next, we should begin praying that the wisdom of the Holy Spirit will fill the hearts, the minds and the souls of the cardinals who will gather for the conclave at the beginning of March. Finally, as the transition of papal authority continues we should get our news from reliable, Catholic news agencies that are well versed in these sorts of things. While the secular media will continue to analyze, speculate and comment on every aspect of the Pope's resignation and the conclave they are notorious for getting the facts wrong!

How opportune that the selection of the next pontiff will take place during the holy season of Lent. What an awesome opportunity we have been presented with to unite our prayer and penance during this season to the selection of a new leader for our Church. May God shower his grace, mercy and blessings upon us during this period of transition. And may he reward our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for his faithful service to the Church and the flock of Christ.



A Prayer for the Pope

V. Let us pray for N, our Pope.

R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

- Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

-O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant N, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.V. Let us pray for N, our Pope.


Turn Back To Me With All Your Heart, Says the Lord!---Lent


 Beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 13th we enter back into the holy season of Lent, that 40-day period of preparation for our celebration of the great solemnity of Easter. In the letters of St. Paul he calls us to metanoia (μετάνοια), a Greek word meaning a complete change of one's mind, heart and soul. We are challenged during the season of Lent to make significant changes in our way of life that draw us closer to God and away from sin.

Don't look at this season as a temporary challenge that will end with chocolate rabbits and colored eggs, but rather see it as a new beginning as a faithful disciple of the Lord.

Be sure to take advantage of all our parish (and others) are offering to engage this most important season!


Annual Sweetheart Dinner and Dance...February 9th!



Love is in the air and Valentine's Day is right around the corner! Are you looking for an affordable, fun and relaxing evening with your beloved? Join us for St. Nick's annual Sweetheart Dinner and Dance! This evening is an opportunity for a good meal, dancing and conversation for any and all MARRIED COUPLES both in the parish and outside. Invite your married friends! Invite your married family! Come join in the fun.

Tickets for the event are $60 per couple. Early reservation can be made now by registering online here. Tickets in person will be available after Mass beginning the weekend of Jan. 26-27!

Have kids? Don't worry...childcare is provided upon request! If you have questions, contact the parish office.


Natural Family Planning Class--Begins 1/26


Local parishioners, Marc and Ann Lee, will be offering a course in Natural Family Planning beginning January 26th. What is NFP? From the Couple to Couple League website, NFP is:

One of the languages the human body “speaks” is the language of love, spoken in a unique way by the sexual powers. At its core, Natural Family Planning (NFP) is really learning about this language of the sexual powers by observing, recording and interpreting the bodily signs of human fertility. In other words, NFP is fertility awareness, the knowledge of a couple’s fertility, and is a means of reading the body’s signs of fertility and infertility. Applying this knowledge through the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) of NFP, which CCL teaches, is over 99% effective in postponing pregnancy.

CCL has a three-fold approach to teaching NFP:

  • The Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP.
  • The moral underpinnings for the NFP decision.
  • The promotion of exclusive and continued breastfeeding and its effect on fertility.

Registration for the course can be done here. If you have any questions regarding NFP, feel free to call the parish office!