Statement of Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, on the election of Pope Benedict XVI

It is with great joy and thanksgiving that I welcome the news of the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as Pope Benedict XVI.

We pledge our loyalty and respect to our new Holy Father and our promise of prayers that he may be guided by the Holy Spirit as he faces the daunting challenges of the church and the world. In all of our parishes, over the Sunday weekend and throughout this week, we have been praying that God's will be done in the election of the new pope.

I call on our Catholic faithful and all people of faith to continue to pray for Pope Benedict XVI. He will need our prayers more than ever as he begins this important ministry of service to the church and to all people of the world.

Sincerely yours in the Lord,

John H. Ricard, SSJ
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee