Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last week, I and along with others from our parish and Immaculate Conception in Durham visited the Raleigh office of Sen. Kay Hagan to encourage her to advance the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.  The provincial leaders of all seven U.S. Franciscan provinces directed their justice, peace and integrity of creation directors to write a letter to President Obama and to congressional leaders to encourage our elected officials to advance comprehensive immigration reform this year. I encourage you to review the letter and add your voice to this call for justice. Please participate in the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ effort to write your members of Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform at www.justiceforimmigrants.org.

Thank you to all who participated in our Mass of Thanksgiving for the papacy of Pope Benedict this past Thursday evening.  Below is a prayer for Pope Benedict as he retires and a prayer for the election of a new pope.

Prayer for Benedict XVI

God our eternal shepherd, you watch over your Church in many ways and always rule us with wisdom and love.  You moved the mind and heart of Benedict XVI to lay down his pastoral staff as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ.  We thank you for the many gifts which he shared with the Church, for the wisdom and courage which he showed as he cooperated with his brother bishops in truth-filled service of the flock entrusted to him.  Bless him in this period of retirement.  Grant him a deep peace and a closer union with You in prayer so that the rest of his life may be fruitful for the Church and for the world.  May the Blessed Mother keep him in her comforting embrace.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for election of a Pope

Holy God, You are our eternal shepherd and guide.

Fill with your Spirit the Conclave which will elect a new Bishop of Rome, a new Pontiff for the Universal Church.  In Your mercy give us the joy of receiving a shepherd after Your own heart who will walk in Your ways and whose watchful care will bring us Your blessing.

In this Year of Faith, give us a shepherd who will be able to fill our hearts and minds with the truth of your gospel.  May he be to all your people an example of faith and goodness. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark