Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has announced his intention to pray a novena to Saint Joseph, asking him to intercede in the upcoming conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor.
“I’m going to begin a novena to him on March 11, nine days of prayer in preparation for his feast day...asking him and his virgin-wife to look after the Church, and get us an inspired new Successor of St. Peter,” the archbishop of New York announced on March 6
“Will you join me?” he asked on his blog, “The Gospel in the Digital Age.”
Cardinal Dolan, along with the other cardinals under 80 years, is in Rome participating in the general congregation of cardinals as they prepare to enter the conclave to elect the next Pope.
He wrote that the timing of the conclave, during Lent and a month dedicated to Saint Joseph, reflects God's providence.
The 40 days of Lent, the cardinal wrote, are a “sacred occasion” in which we united ourselves to Christ's death “by dying to sin, through prayer, sacrifice, and acts of charity, so that we might rise with Him to life at Easter.”
This time of the liturgical year focused on Christ's death fits with our situation in which we “observe the passing of a beloved Pontiff” and wait for the “rebirth” that will come with the election of the next Bishop of Rome, he said.
The transition, Cardinal Dolan, is a special opportunity for the Church to die to “sin, corruption, scandal, and evil, even in the members of the Church – including her leaders – so that the Church can then rise to renewed life.”
It is also providential, he said, that this papal transition occurs in March. March is dedicated to St. Joseph because his feast falls on the 19th of the month.
The saint is the patron of the universal Church, and Cardinal Dolan upheld him as a model to follow during the transition.
He noted St. Joseph as a man of silence, saying, “we need quiet reflection as the College of Cardinals.”
St. Joseph was also a man who “dealt with emergencies” with calmness and trust in God, Cardinal Dolan noted.
“What an example he is as we see so many 'emergencies' in the Church and the world today!”
Cardinal Dolan also emphasized that St. Joseph was attentive to God's will and was reliably devoted to his calling.
The cardinal concluded with his statement that he would be praying a novena to St. Joseph for the election of the new Pope, leading up to his feast day on March 19.
He's already received a warm response to his invitation to join him in the novena. On his Facebook wall, the post linking to his blog has been commented on 62 times, and 552 people have liked it.
The final cardinal-elector, Cardinal Pham Minh Man, arrived in Rome March 7, so the cardinals may now set a start date for the conclave which precedes March 15. The conclave must begin by March 20.