Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

chair of peterToday we celebrate the feast of the chair of Saint Peter and while there is a physical chair, what we’re really celebrating is the office of the papacy. The Latin word for this chair is “cathedra” (from which we get the word cathedral) and it literally designates the official seat of a bishop placed in the principle church in each diocese.  It is a symbol of his authority and, in the case of Saint Peter’s chair, is a symbol of the authority Christ gave to Peter and all the popes to come after him.

This seems like an especially good day to pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict and for his successor. The collect from today’s Mass is a good place to start:

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith.  

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

And from a novena for Pope Benedict’s last days in the office:

Gracious and holy Father,
please give to our Pope and
to us the faithful:
intellect to understand You;
reason to discern You;
diligence to seek You;
wisdom to find You;
a spirit to know You;
a heart to meditate upon You;
ears to hear You;
eyes to see You;
a tongue to proclaim You;
a way of life pleasing to You;
patience to wait for You;
and perseverance to look for You.

Grant Your servant the
Pope and us the faithful:
a perfect end,
Your holy presence.
A blessed resurrection,
And life everlasting.

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