The bishops of Nicaragua are inviting Catholics in the country and around the world to join together in 40 hours of prayer for Pope Benedict XVI as he retires from the papacy.
The prayer campaign will ask for grace for the Holy Father as he ends his ministry, as well as “for whoever will be his successor according to the will of the Holy Spirit.”
“We are inviting the people of God, and specifically the Catholic people of Nicaragua, to unite in this network of prayer,” said Bishop Socrates Rene Sandigo, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua.
The prayer initiative will ask that the Holy Spirit will guide the cardinals, “as always,” in the process of electing the new pontiff, he explained.
On Feb. 11, the Holy Father announced that he will be retiring at the end of the month, due to his advanced age and waning strength.
During a press conference on Feb. 12, Bishop Sandigo said that Pope Benedict “steps down as head of the Church with a great sense of honesty with himself.”
“I think very few people have that courage, that capacity to look into their conscience and make such a decision,” he continued.
The bishop added that the Holy Father “will go down in history as a Pope who, out of humility and courage, acknowledged that he no longer had his physical strength” and chose to retire for the good of the Church.
Recalling his own encounter with Pope Benedict three months ago, Bishop Sandigo said that the Holy Father displayed “supernatural strength” in continuing his service to Christ despite his fatigue.
The bishops of Nicaragua have called the pontiff’s decision to resign a gesture of humility, interior freedom and courage, he said.