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Farewell to Benedict XVI


Our Diocese joins together with people from around the world in praying for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 
Let us remember him in our prayers and as we celebrate the Eucharist.  

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away December 31, 2022 in his residence at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.
He was 95. 
Benedict’s body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica through Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Funeral Mass will be on Thursday, Jan. 5 in St. Peter’s Square. 

My Dear Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese,

We were saddened to learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on December 31, 2022. Following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope. In the coming days, we will hear much about his life and his papacy. We know that he was a gifted intellectual, theologian and academic. He was a humble servant of the Church serving as a priest of more than seventy years, as well as the universal pastor of the Church for eight years.

On February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick, we were caught by surprise by his courage and conviction in stepping down as Pope due to declining health. As we know he was the first Pope to resign in over six hundred years. Since that time, he has provided an example of how to witness to our faith in growing old gracefully.

I recall meeting Pope Benedict in 2012 at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo when I attended bishop’s school in Rome. He struck me as being a humble man of faith and holiness.

Let us join in prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, may eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.


+ Wayne Kirkpatrick

Bishop of Antigonish



Statement by Bishop Raymond Poisson,

Bishop of St-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Bishops of Canada join Pope Francis and all the People of God in mourning the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and thank God for his life of humble and dedicated service. Benedict XVI leaves behind a great legacy of teaching that will continue to inspire us, both through the three encyclicals he wrote and through the many public speeches he delivered throughout the world as Supreme Pontiff. Pope Benedict XVI, “Cardinal Ratzinger”, served as a faithful and sure guide of Catholic doctrine in his various offices with the Holy See.

As Pope, he challenged us “to dare to love” – to make “your whole existence a joyful enterprise of giving yourselves to God and to your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who conquered hatred and death forever with love (cf. Rev 5:13)”, and to find peace. comfort and inspiration in the love that Christ has for each one of us.

As Canadians, we are especially grateful for his efforts to heal the wounds of our past. Benedict XVI was the first pope to meet victims of abuse by members of the clergy. He publicly acknowledged the scourge of abuse by these clergy, apologized for it, and strengthened Church processes to respond to allegations, including facilitating the prosecution or suspension from the clerical state those found responsible for abuse.

Pope Benedict XVI also invited a Canadian delegation, made up of representatives of Indigenous communities, as well as Catholic dioceses and religious communities across Canada, to a private meeting in April 2009 to discuss their experience of residential schools. During this meeting, the Pope listened to their stories and expressed his regret and sadness for the sorrow suffered by many Indigenous people in the residential school system.

A few years later, he canonized North America’s first Indigenous saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”

As we pray for the eternal rest of his soul, we pray that the love and hope that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI found in the Risen Lord may continue to inspire and comfort us in the trials and tribulations of our own earthly lives. May peace be granted to him as he rests forever in communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Déclaration de Mgr Raymond Poisson,
évêque de St-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier et
président de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada

Les évêques du Canada se joignent au pape François et au peuple de Dieu qui pleurent le décès du pape émérite Benoît XVI; ils rendent grâce à Dieu pour sa vie de service humble et dévoué. Benoît XVI laisse derrière lui un grand héritage d’enseignement qui continuera de nous inspirer, tant par les trois encycliques qu’il a rédigées que par les nombreux discours publics qu’il a prononcés à travers le monde en tant que Souverain Pontife. Le pape Benoit XVI, « Cardinal Ratzinger », a été un guide fidèle et sûr de la doctrine catholique tout au long de ses divers offices auprès du Saint Siège.

En tant que Pape, il nous a mis au défi « d’oser aimer » – de faire de « toute votre existence une joyeuse entreprise du don de vous-mêmes à Dieu et à vos frères, à l’imitation de Celui qui a vaincu la haine et la mort pour toujours par l’amour (cf. Ap 5, 13) », et de trouver la paix, le réconfort et l’inspiration dans l’amour que le Christ a pour chacun de nous.

En tant que Canadiens et Canadiennes, nous lui sommes particulièrement reconnaissants pour ses efforts visant à guérir les blessures de notre passé. Benoît XVI a été le premier Pape à rencontrer des victimes d’abus par des membres du clergé. Il a reconnu publiquement le fléau des abus commis par ces derniers, s’en est excusé et a renforcé les processus de l’Église pour répondre aux allégations, notamment en facilitant la poursuite ou la suspension de l’état clérical des personnes ayant été reconnues responsables d’abus.

Le pape Benoît XVI a également invité les membres d’une délégation canadienne, composée de représentants et représentantes des communautés autochtones, ainsi que des diocèses et des communautés religieuses catholiques du Canada, à une réunion privée en avril 2009 pour discuter de leur expérience des pensionnats. Au cours de cette rencontre, le Pape a écouté leurs récits et a exprimé son regret et sa tristesse pour les souffrances éprouvées par de nombreux Autochtones dans le système des pensionnats.

Quelques années plus tard, il a canonisé la première sainte autochtone d’Amérique du Nord, sainte Kateri Tekakwitha, également appelée le « Lys des Mohawks ».

Alors que nous prions pour le repos éternel de son âme, nous prions pour que l’amour et l’espoir que le pape émérite Benoît XVI a trouvé dans le Seigneur ressuscité puissent continuer de nous inspirer et de nous réconforter dans les épreuves et les tribulations de nos propres vies sur terre. Que la paix lui soit accordée alors qu’il repose pour toujours en communion avec le Père, le Fils et l’Esprit Saint.

Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish