Saturday, December 31, 2022

Requiescat in pace

The e-mail's subject line jolted out of my early-afternoon fatigue: The Death of Pope Benedict XVI. I wasn't surprised--Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was 95 years old and had been sick, so we all knew that the end was near--but the announcement still hit me as memories began flying through my mind:

Of watching television coverage as he ascended to the papacy after the death of Pope John Paul II...of the ways in which he brought me closer to God...all the happy hours I have spent reading his books and encyclicals...of that t-shirt I used to wear that said "I Love my German Shepherd" above a picture of Pope Benedict's face...of the time my then-fiancĂ© and I attended Pope Benedict XVI's final papal audience...of the following day, when we watched him fly away from St. Peter's Square in a helicopter. 

I remember the incredible gift of praying the Pater Noster (Lord's Prayer) at his papal audience. I remember the tears and deep emotions the next day, as we watched him officially step down. I remember speaking with an Italian or two from the area who felt bewildered and betrayed as they experienced a small amount of time without a bishop, and I remember the excitement and joy of Pope Francis's election to the papacy. And I remember that abiding peace, over the following years, of knowing that Pope Emeritus Benedict was continuing to pray and intercede for the Church in a hidden, quiet way. 

A glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI when attending his final papal audience.

I am grateful for the ways in which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI fathered the Church and guided her throughout his priesthood and papacy. I am grateful, in particular, for the ways in which he opened my eyes to the beauty and richness of the liturgy. He was an imperfect human being, like the rest of us, yet there is no question that he humbly strove for holiness and yearned to bring others closer to God. I am grateful for the beautiful work that he did during his time on Earth, but I know that his work is only beginning as he continues to praise and glorify God and intercede for the Church. 

May the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 


  1. Beautiful reflection on Pope Emeritus Benedict! Love that photo, amazing you saw him right before he stepped down! I am so grateful I got to see him at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. He is a gift to the Catholic church.

    1. Thanks! Wow, that must have been an incredible experience-to be at WYD AND to see Pope Benedict in his home country, too! That's so cool :)