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Archbishop George Lucas is asking the Archdiocese of Omaha's 230,000 Catholics to turn to prayer before and after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
Each of the Archdiocese's 147 parishes and missions will offer a weekday Mass for Pope Benedict XVI before his resignation takes effect on February 28. Archbishop Lucas expects every parish to offer a weekday Mass after the resignation for the election of the successor.
"Archbishop Lucas feels it is important to offer special prayers for Pope Benedict XVI, in thanksgiving for his faithful service to the Church, and his health and well-being," said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, in a news release.
Pastors have been provided guidelines to assist them with the message and music.
The material suggests that homilies reflect on the particular ministry of Pope Benedict as an example to follow -- "relationship with Jesus Christ", efforts to achieve peace in the world and outreach and concern for the poor, sick and oppressed.
Lucas' suggested petitions for the pope include prayers of strength to complete his remaining ministry.
The guidelines also recommend prayer for the cardinal-electors.
Archbishop Lucas is expected to announce in the coming weeks how the church intends to celebrate the election of a new pope.