The bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington and his immediate predecessor are each remembering the contributions of Pope Benedict XVI, who died Saturday morning in Rome.
“I join fellow Catholics and people of good will from throughout the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” said Bishop Koenig, bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington since July 2021.
“With prayers of gratitude for the gifts that God bestowed upon him that he so generously shared for the good of the church and the human family, we ask God to welcome his good and faithful servant into the life prepared for him from the foundation of the world. May eternal rest be granted to him and perpetual light shine upon him.”
Church members began praying for the pope emeritus this week after Pope Francis announced his predecessor was “very sick.”
Bishop Emeritus Malooly, a bishop for more than 20 years who led the diocese for 13 years beginning in 2008, said he has fond memories from numerous encounters with the late pontiff.
Bishop Malooly met Pope Benedict twice in 2008 and again in 2012 at an ad limina meeting during which each bishop throughout the world has an opportunity to discuss issues in his diocese during a private meeting with the pope.
“We were all prepared,” Bishop Malooly said of the Saturday morning announcement of the passing of Pope Benedict. “Pope Francis had been asking for prayers.”
Bishop Malooly believes Pope Benedict leaves a legacy as a learned churchman and accomplished writer.
“He’ll be remembered as a tremendous theologian, and someone who reached out to the extraordinary rite, those who felt they were left out with Vatican II.” Bishop Malooly said.
Bishop Koenig will preside at a concelebrated memorial Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Sixth and West Streets in Wilmington.
The 95-year-old pope’s remains have been in St. Peter’s Basilica beginning the morning of Jan. 2 for people to pay their last respects and offer their prayers. The funeral Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, will be in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 5 starting at 9:30 a.m. Rome time.