When he visited the United States last month, in every city he visited, he made the same request. That same request he repeated to President Obama and Speaker of the House, John Boehner. The Pope visited a Catholic grade school in Harlem and gave the students a "homework assignment" asking them to do the same thing. After the final blessing of the Mass in Philadelphia, as his parting words to us before he left our country, he requested it one last time. What does the Pope keep asking for?
"Pray for me! I ask you to pray for me. Don't forget!" Pope Francis understands the power of and the need for prayer. He reminds us all of our duty to strengthen the spiritual bond that we have with the shepherds whom God grants to serve us and watch over us.
Now, in our own Archdiocese, there is a call for us to pray for our shepherd. We are to ask God to send us a new and faithful archbishop. Archbishop Hebda has been conducting listening sessions across the Archdiocese. He has been spending time with the faithful and with the priests. He is bringing us together so that with one voice we can lift this petition to God.
I have long since believed that we get the leaders we deserve. The more that we are faithful and holy the more the Church can call forth, from our own families and parishes, faithful and holy people to lead us and care for us.
Below is a prayer that the Archdiocese has offered, but you are invited to pray in many and varied ways. Let God hear from us and He will do something new and beautiful in our midst.
PRAYER FOR A NEW ARCHBISHOP
Good and Gracious God, giver of all good gifts,
grant to this Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
an Archbishop who will unite us in our diversity and call forth those gifts
with which you have so richly blessed this family of faith.
May he be a Shepherd after your own heart, a faithful and merciful servant,
whose gentleness will bring healing and comfort, and whose courage will inspire.
May his life radiate the Joy of the Gospel and his unfailing confidence
in your providential care lead us all to a renewed sense of trust.
May he be a prayerful instrument of your grace in our lives,
empowering us to live out our shared vocation as missionary disciples.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. AMEN
... and may we all be good sheep.