Religious leaders from Northeast Ohio issue statements on the death of Pope Benedict XVI

FILE - Pope Benedict XVI greets people in the crowd as he celebrates a Mass at Yankee Stadium,...
FILE - Pope Benedict XVI greets people in the crowd as he celebrates a Mass at Yankee Stadium, in New York on Sunday, April 20, 2008. In the the United States, admirers of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remembered him warmly for his theological prowess and devotion to traditional doctrine. However, some U.S. Catholics, on learning of his death Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, recalled him as an obstacle to progress in combating clergy sex abuse and expanding the role of women in the church.(AP Photo/Chang W. Lee, Pool, File)
Published: Dec. 31, 2022 at 6:12 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Religious leaders from across Northeast Ohio continue to mourn the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died Saturday morning.

Benedict, who was the first pope to resign in 600 years, died at 95 on Dec. 31.

Bishop Edward Malesic, of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, said the death of any pope is “a time of sadness” in a statement.

The death of any pope is a time of sadness for the Church universal. The death of our Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is surely a time of intense grief for our local Church. Yet it is also a time of hopeful expectation as we place our trust in the Lord who promises the kingdom of God and the resurrection of the body for those who have followed him in this life. The faithful witness of his life and ministry, his theological and spiritual writings, and his almost hidden and prayerful example in recent years have provided the Church with a rich legacy. As such, the death of Pope Benedict XVI invites us to enter a time of remembrance and prayer. We pray for the repose of his soul and for the forgiveness of his sins so that he might see God face to face in the beatific vision of heaven.

I am requesting that all diocesan parishes pray for and offer a Mass for Pope Benedict and that parochial schools immediately offer prayers for the deceased Pontiff. I will offer today’s 4:30 p.m. Mass and tomorrow’s 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. John’s Cathedral for the repose of the soul of the deceased Pope, and the Feast of Holy Mary Mother of God. I invite the clergy, religious, and faithful of the diocese to join me in praying for the repose of the Pope Emeritus’ soul.

On the day of Pope Benedict’s funeral, Thursday, January 5, Bishop Martin Amos will celebrate a Mass for the Dead at the Cathedral at Noon. Please announce this to your parish community and invite the faithful to participate in this memorial Mass for Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Edward Malesic, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

Bishop David Bonnar, of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, also released a statement on the passing of Pope Benedict XVI.

The Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Youngstown mourn the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict. Pope Benedict’s story is one of humble and faithful service to the Church rooted in a passionate commitment to promoting and protecting the Truth of the Gospel. His Episcopal Motto, ‘Cooperators of the Truth’ illustrates his uncompromising intentionality to the Truth. Pope Benedict’s final words as pontiff point to the last leg of his earthly journey which was focused on preparing for eternal life. He said, ‘I’m simply a pilgrim who is starting the last stage of his pilgrimage on Earth.’ May he now occupy the room prepared for him in God’s Kingdom and see God face to face. Together, let us pray that Pope Benedict will know God’s peace and rest.

In addition to funeral arrangements and forms of prayer at the Vatican, Bishop Bonnar will be the principal celebrant for two diocesan Masses to pray for the deceased Pope: Tuesday, January 3 at 4:00pm at Saint Paul Church, 241 S Main Street, North Canton; and Wednesday, January 4 at 12:10pm at the Cathedral of Saint Columba, 154 West Wood Street, Youngstown. Parishes throughout the diocese will also be praying for Pope Emeritus Benedict at upcoming liturgies.

The faithful are asked to pray for Pope Benedict through the traditional customary prayers of the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. The deceased Pope may also be prayed for in the recitation of the rosary.

Bishop David Bonnar, Catholic Diocese of Youngstown