I was born in 1965. I can remember Pope Paul VI, both John Pauls, and Benedict XVI. I was a teenager when the John Pauls were elected. I didn’t really care at all about the conclave or what it meant. Having been poorly catechized in the post Vatican II, throw the baby out with the bath water, era I had no understanding of the momentousness of what was happening. I watched the EWTN coverage in 2005 and shouted “Habemus Papam!” when they showed the white smoke and waited to watch the announcement of the new pope. This time, I find I am sad that Benedict XVI has left the chair of Peter open, but I am looking forward to this conclave with a better understanding than ever before. I am praying for the Holy Spirit to guide the cardinals and for the Lord’s will to be done. I will not forget my “German shepherd,” but I look forward to the guiding hand of the one who will be elected. It is a bittersweet time for me.
Please send forth Your Spirit on the college of cardinals as they gather for the conclave. May the man You desire to fill the Chair of St. Peter be chosen to lead Your church. Please grant peace to Your servant Benedict XVI as he enters into a life of prayer and solitude. Not the will of man, but Your will be done.