Diocese of Phoenix bishops reflect on Church’s 265th Pope

PHOENIX – Roman Catholics around the globe are mourning the loss of Pope Benedict XVI, who passed away in Rome today at the age of 95. A native of Germany, Benedict served as the pope of the Catholic Church for over seven years (2005 to 2013), before announcing his resignation on February 28, 2013, becoming the first pope in almost 600 years to resign from the papacy. He was the 265th pope in the 2,000-plus year history of the Church.

Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral Mass on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Mass will be streamed live beginning at 1:30 a.m. Arizona time. Pope Benedict’s body will lie in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning January 2, so people can pay their respects and offer their prayers.

“I join the people of the Diocese of Phoenix as we pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” said Bishop John P. Dolan, who was installed as the fifth bishop in the 53-year history of the Diocese of Phoenix this past August. “His theological writings on Christ and His Mother have helped to shape my own spiritual life. Entrusting him to the care of Jesus and Mary, may he rest in peace.”

“After being named the Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, I had the honor of meeting him in Rome as he welcomed all of the new bishops into the episcopacy,” added Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares, who was appointed to his current role in the Diocese of Phoenix in May of 2010. “I will never forget his warmth and fraternal greeting. I join Bishop Dolan and all of the faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix in praying for the peaceful repose of Pope Benedict XVI.”

The lay faithful are encouraged to pray the Our FatherHail MaryGlory Be, and rosary for the late pontiff.