Novena in Memory of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI, 1927-2022

The entire Church mourns the death of our Emeritus Holy Father, Benedict XVI. In cathedrals, basilicas, parish churches, shrines, and chapels the Holy Eucharist will be offered for the repose of his soul. Communities and individuals will ask God to bestow his infinite mercy on the man who served the Church as Bishop of Rome.
This novena has been prepared to help pray for the Pope Emeritus during this time. The daily novena – lasting from his funeral on Thursday, January 5 through Friday, January 13 – consists of a short reading from Scripture or some other ecclesiastical text and some brief prayers, including orations drawn from the Roman Missal and the Order of Christian Funerals.

© 2023 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

First Day: January 5 “You are Peter…”

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (16:13-19)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, faithful rewarder of souls,
grant that your departed servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict,
whom you made successor of Peter
and shepherd of your Church,
may happily enjoy for ever in your presence in heaven
the mysteries of your grace and compassion,
which he faithfully ministered on earth.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Second Day: January 6 “Feed my Sheep…”

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (21:15-17)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, immortal shepherd of souls,
look on your people’s prayers
and grant that your servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict,
who presided over your Church in charity,
may, with the flock entrusted to his care,
receive from your mercy
the reward of a faithful steward.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Third Day: January 7 Peter, the Unity of All the Church

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from a sermon by Saint Augustine

As you are aware, Jesus chose his disciples before his Passion and called them Apostles; and among these almost everywhere Peter alone deserved to represent the entire Church. And because of that role which he alone had, he merited to hear the words: To you I shall give the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. For it was not one man who received the keys, but the entire Church considered as one… Rightly then did the Lord after his Resurrection entrust Peter with the feeding of his sheep. Yet he was not the only disciple to merit the feeding of the Lord’s sheep; but Christ in speaking only to one suggests the unity of all; and so he speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the Apostles. (Sermo 295, nos. 2, 4)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, who chose your servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict
from among your Priests
and endowed him with pontifical dignity
in the apostolic priesthood,
grant, we pray,
that he may also be admitted to their company for ever.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fourth Day: January 8 Authentic Teacher of the Faith

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are “authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice” (Lumen gentium, 25). The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for. (no. 2034)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, who in your wondrous providence
chose your servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict to preside over your Church,
grant, we pray,
that, having served as the Vicar of your Son on earth,
he may be welcomed by him into eternal glory.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Fifth Day: January 9 “Strengthen Your Brothers…”

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.” (22:31-34)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that the soul of Benedict, your servant and Priest,
whom you honored with sacred office
while he lived in this world,
may exult for ever in the glorious home of heaven.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sixth Day: January 10 The Petrine Ministry of Mercy

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the Encyclical Ut unum sint

by Pope Saint John Paul II

As the heir to the mission of Peter in the Church, which has been made fruitful by the blood of the Princes of the Apostles, the Bishop of Rome exercises a ministry originating in the manifold mercy of God… The authority proper to this ministry is completely at the service of God’s merciful plan and it must always be seen in this perspective. Its power is explained from this perspective. Associating himself with Peter’s threefold profession of love, which corresponds to the earlier threefold denial, his Successor knows that he must be a sign of mercy. His is a ministry of mercy, born of an act of Christ’s own mercy… The Church of God is called by Christ to manifest to a world ensnared by its sins and evil designs that, despite everything, God in his mercy can convert hearts to unity and enable them to enter into communion with him. (nos. 92-93)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that the soul of your departed servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict,
to whom you committed the care of your family,
may, with the manifold fruit of his labors,
enter into the eternal gladness of his Lord.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Seventh Day: January 11 Peter: The First of the Apostles

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. (10:1-4)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, faithful rewarder of souls,
grant that your departed servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict,
whom you made successor of Peter
and shepherd of your Church,
may happily enjoy for ever in your presence in heaven
the mysteries of your grace and compassion,
which he faithfully ministered on earth.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eighth Day: January 12 Union of Pope and Bishops

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen gentium

This collegial union [of bishops] is apparent also in the mutual relations of the individual bishops with particular churches and with the universal Church. The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful. The individual bishop, however, is the visible principle and foundation of unity in his particular church, fashioned after the model of the universal Church. In and from such individual churches there comes into being the one and only Catholic Church. For this reason each individual bishop represents his own church, but all of them together in union with the Pope represent the entire Church joined in the bond of peace, love, and unity. (no. 23)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

O God, immortal shepherd of souls,
look on your people’s prayers
and grant that your servant Pope (Emeritus) Benedict,
who presided over your Church in charity,
may, with the flock entrusted to his care,
receive from your mercy
the reward of a faithful steward.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ninth Day: January 13 Successor to the Apostle Peter

☩ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A reading from a letter to the Corinthians by Pope Saint Clement I

Having received their orders, the Apostles went out, fully convinced by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting the word of God, and assured by the Holy Spirit. They went out proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand throughout the countryside and in the cities. They tested in the Spirit the first fruits of their preaching, and appointed them to be bishops and deacons for those who would later come to believe… Our Apostles knew also, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife over the office of the episcopate. And so with perfect foresight, when they ordained those men, the Apostles gave them the mandate that when they pass away other proven men should succeed them in their ministry. (42:3-4; 44:1-2)

Pause for silent prayer.
Pray one
 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Hear with favor our prayers, which we humbly offer, O Lord,
for the salvation of the soul of Benedict, your servant and Priest,
that he, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name,
may rejoice in the perpetual company of your Saints.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acknowledgments

Excerpt from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours © 1970, 1973, 1975 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); excerpt from the English translation of the Order of Christian Funerals © 1985 ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010 ICEL. All rights reserved.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Excerpt from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America, copyright © 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.—Libreria Editrice Vaticana. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Ut unum sint © Dicasterio per la Comunicazione— Librería Editrice Vaticana.

Excerpt from Lumen gentium from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter

M. Abbott, ed. New York: Guild Press, 1966.