April’s papal prayer intentions has, for the first time the monthly intentions, Pope Francis’ ministry as the focus of our attention. Being in prayerful solidarity with the successor of Saint Peter is a hallmark of communio ecclesiology.
While the Apostleship of Prayer formed the papal intentions prior to the papal resignation and papal election, our prayer continued through the sede vacante because of the Office of the Bishop of Rome never ceases. The needs of the Church remains.
The general intention
That the public, prayerful celebration of faith [the sacred Liturgy] may give life to the faithful.
The mission intention
That mission churches may be signs and instruments of hope and resurrection.
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 that the community of believers are anchored in the Eucharist. As you know, this is the earliest recorded Christian understanding of what the Lord did on the day before He died on the cross. In fact, Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has the famous line, “Do this in remembrance of me,” which keeps our attention on what’s essential. Pope Benedict’s good example and teaching tells us that real renewal of our faith rests in our living what the Eucharist means. Consider what the bishops of the Second Vatican Council said about the Eucharist: it is “the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.” Hence, our prayer intention for April not only echoes a key teaching of Scripture but also the magisterium that teaches us that “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed.” The Liturgy, most particularly the Eucharist, is the fount of our faith in the Risen Lord, and from which the Church’s pastoral power flows.
The mission intention speaks to the virtue of hope. It is the Christian hope in our eternal destiny. Again, appealing to the teaching of Saint Paul’s letter, 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, pinpoints what we believe about faith in Christ: we live with a new humanity, that is, we have a new creation. The Year of Faith proclamation says, “Through faith, we can recognize the face of the risen Lord in those who ask for our love.”