The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa is urging the Catholic faithful on island to attend a special Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI.
The Mass will be held at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Chalan Kanoa at 6am on Thursday, Feb. 28-the last day of Pope Benedict XVI as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.
Fr. Ryan P. Jimenez, apostolic administrator for the diocese, said yesterday that the special Mass will be offered in thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI's leadership.
“The clergy of the diocese will concelebrate with Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho at this Eucharistic celebration,” he said.
Jimenez said the Mass is also in response to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' recommendation that special prayers be offered for the Holy Father.
“This is an opportunity for us to be one in prayer with the universal Church. At Mass, when we profess “one, holy, catholic, apostolic” Church-this gesture of praying together at the cathedral on the day of the Pope's resignation is our gesture of unity, through prayer, with Catholics all over the world,” he explained.
“As we thank and pray for Pope Benedict XVI, we also invoke on the Holy Spirit's continuing guidance, especially in the upcoming conclave,” added Jimenez.
While there won't be other 6am Masses in other parishes on island, Jimenez said that Rota and Tinian islands will offer Masses on the same day and for the same intention.
“It would be good for Catholics in the CNMI to express unity and solidarity with the entire Catholic church through prayer on this special day,” Jimenez told Saipan Tribune.
Jimenez noted that Pope Benedict XVI's resignation coincides with the Lenten season, which he described as “a special time for prayer.”
“With the many challenges that the Catholic Church is faced with nowadays, we all need to pray together. We need to pray harder. We are a small diocese here in the CNMI but we are very much affected with what is going on in Rome and other dioceses worldwide,” added Jimenez.