The March 17, 1991 issue of a newspaper called Catholic Twin Circle had an article entitled "The Pope's Own Prayer Group." It was about the Apostleship of Prayer which has a special spiritual bond with the Pope because he gives his monthly prayer intentions to the Church and the world through us. Pope John Paul II expressed his appreciation for this special bond in 1985 when he told Apostleship directors from around the world that the Apostleship of Prayer was "a precious treasure from the Pope's heart and the Heart of Christ."
He also told the directors: "You feel particularly bound to the Vicar of Christ and pray for him every day as the mother Church of Jerusalem did for Peter (Acts 12: 4); and you wish to deepen and make know to Christians the concrete problems that trouble the Universal Church, especially those of the Missions."
The passage to which Pope John Paul II referred is part of today's First Reading for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. As "the Holy Father's Prayer group," the Apostleship of Prayer is, as Pope John Paul II pointed out, very much like the early Christian community of Jerusalem that prayed for Peter when he was in prison. Today we continue to pray with deep affection for Peter's successor, Pope Benedict XVI.
This morning I ran across the following in Fr. Francis Fernandez's meditation book In Conversation with God:
Cephas was not a recognisable proper name, but it was one chosen by Our Lord to denote Peter's new function, a function that would be fully revealed to him later on, when he would become the Vicar of Christ. In our prayer today we can examine the sincerity of our love--shown with deeds--towards the one who takes Christ's place on earth. Do we pray for him every day? Do we make his teachings known? Do we second his intentions? Do we promptly spring to his defence when he is attacked or scorned? What joy we give to God when He sees that we love, with deeds, his Vicar on earth!
Good questions for every Catholic to consider today.