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INTERREGNUM-MASSTEXT Mar-4-2013 (580 words) xxxi

'Sede vacante' triggers changes in Mass texts, especially in Rome

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics around the world were left popeless late Feb. 28, but Catholics in the Diocese of Rome were left without their bishop as well.

The resignation of the pope, the bishop of Rome, triggered changes in the Mass texts -- particularly in the eucharistic prayers -- used by priests all over the world.

For example, when consecrating the bread and wine using Eucharistic Prayer 1 before Feb. 28, the priest would offer a prayer for the church, saying: "Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant Benedict, our pope, and (name) our bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith."

After the "sede vacante" period without a pope began March 1, the prayer was changed to: "Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with (name) our bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith."

But in the Diocese of Rome before Feb. 28, Catholics prayed for "Benedict, our pope and bishop."

In instructions sent to parishes and posted on the Rome diocesan website, priests were instructed to change the words to the equivalent of: "Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the world, with all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith."

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that from March 1 and until the election of a new pope, the 5 p.m. Mass in St. Peter's Basilica would begin each day with a formal prayer for the election of a pope.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the basilica, wrote the text in Italian, which can be translated as:

"Lord Jesus, before leaving this world, you told your apostles: 'And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'

"We feel your reassuring presence and we are certain that you remain always at the helm of the barque of the church and guide it with a firm hand in the midst of the storms of history.

"At this time of anxious expectation, send your Holy Spirit to enlighten the minds of the cardinals in choosing the successor of Peter: choosing the one you have thought of and have designated to guide your flock today.

"Virgin most holy, you prayed with the apostles in the Upper Room and awaited with them the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Pray with us and for us and obtain for us the gift of a new Pentecost of fervor, enthusiasm and joyful obedience to the Gospel of Jesus. Amen."

The liturgy office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has published the Mass texts in English and Spanish. In English, the opening prayer for a Mass for the election of a pope reads: "O God, eternal shepherd, who governs your flock with unfailing care, grant in your boundless fatherly love a pastor for your church who will please you by his holiness and to us show watchful care."

Father Lombardi also said that three contemplative nuns from Mexico had arrived with the specific mission of praying for a new pope in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The nuns, he said, will pray in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Peter's Basilica 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, the hours the chapel is open for eucharistic adoration.

END


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