Vicariates mark the passing of Pope Benedict with memorial Masses

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Local Catholics remember Pope Benedict during vicariate Masses

Bishop Jeffrey Grob was the main celebrant during a Mass to honor the passing of Pope Benedict XVI at St. Theresa Parish in Palatine on Jan. 5, 2022. Archdiocese of Chicago auxiliary bishops celebrated memorial Masses for the pope in each of the archdiocese’s six vicariates on Jan. 4 and 5, 2023. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Kathryn McIntyre hands out a worship aid and prayer cards to Little Sisters of the Poor Therese Marie and Juliana before Mass. The sisters also brought up the gifts. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Timothy Fairman, pastor at St. Theresa, and Father Christian Shiu, chaplain at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, walk in the opening procession. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parishioner Tom Galvan proclaims the first reading. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Deacon Lou Riccio incenses the ambo before proclaiming the Gospel. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Jeffrey Grob incenses the altar prior to the Eucharistic Prayer. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Deacon Andrew Kim incenses the congregation during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Worshippers pray during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Joined on the altar by priests from Vicariate I, Bishop Jeffrey Grob raises the chalice during a Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Worship aids honoring Pope Benedict as seen on the font during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A girl shows Bishop Grob her prayer card following Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Chicago-area Catholics joined the universal church in marking the passing of Pope Benedict XVI with memorial Masses on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5 in each of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s six vicariates.

The archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops celebrated the Masses while Cardinal Cupich joined other cardinals and Pope Francis for Benedict’s funeral Mass on Jan. 5 in St. Peter’s Square.

Before leaving for Rome, Cardinal Cupich celebrated Mass for the repose Pope Benedict’s soul on the morning of Jan. 2 at Holy Name Cathedral.

St. Theresa Parish in Palatine hosted the Mass for Vicariate I, where about 400 people gathered to pray and remember the pontiff. A choir and an ensemble of string and brass instruments led the congregation in song as a large image of Pope Benedict was displayed in the sanctuary next to the ambo.

Auxiliary Bishop Jeffrey Grob, episcopal vicar of Vicariate I, was the main celebrant.

“We do as we always do as we gather, we remember not only the saving action of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, but in a special way we recall and remember the life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, that God, who called him into existence, who gave him life, gave him a vocation, gave him a ministry of service to the church, has now called to be at home to be at peace,” Bishop Grob told the congregation at the start of Mass.

During his homily, Bishop Grob reflected on the witness of Pope Benedict.

“Earlier today at the Vatican, the world witnessed the mortal remains of a man carried to the grave in a wooden box,” Bishop Grob said, describing Pope Benedict as “mild mannered, a scholar and a churchman.”

“This particular man was unquestionably an intellectual and a person of profound faith. However, it would appear at least to those who knew him best, that Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger was happiest among the library stacks and wandering the halls of academia,” he said.

Pope Benedict taught many students before moving on to guide the universal church as a cardinal, then as pope. He also taught through his actions, Bishop Grob said.

“He did this through the way he lived his life and witness to the faith through his own humanity. Personally, I’ve always believed this is seen and was seen most profoundly when he chose to set down the heavy burden of the Petrine office in 2013. No doubt it was a shock to many and a scandal to some, but Benedict revealed to the world that he knew himself and he knew himself well,” he said.

The pope was aware of his limitations and he was courageous, Bishop Grob said.

“He not only affirmed our Catholic belief in the action of grace and of Divine Providence, but he lived them. He had internalized them. This is the man who spoke of fragility as our greatest treasure. Benedict knew well his strengths and his weaknesses while trusting in God’s abiding presence,” he said. “May we have such self-awareness, such knowledge of self to know who you are in yourself before God. That’s grace. That’s holiness.”

Following Mass, Father Timothy Fairman, pastor of St. Theresa Parish, said the parish was honored to be asked to host the Mass for Vicariate I.

“I had a great deal of admiration for the Holy Father, and to be a host site, I thought was a huge honor to be able to do that,” Fairman said. “I give full credit to the people who worked on this Mass. A lot came together in a short period of time.”

Pope Benedict’s passing allowed the Catholic world to reflect upon his life and legacy.

“The Holy Father was a huge inspiration to a lot of people. As you read some of the reflections of people after his passing, you came to realize how much of an impact he had on so many people through a variety of ways,” Fairman said. “He was a pastor, he was a theologian/philosopher. His life encompassed so many things.”


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