By this time next week the Archdiocese will have welcomed its new shepherd. Archbishop Charles Chaput already is the Archbishop of Philadelphia, which he became upon the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment July 19.

The installation rite to be celebrated Sept. 8 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul receives the archbishop into his cathedral and the community that he leads. What better way for him or anyone beginning a new chapter in life than with prayer, and its highest expression, the holy Mass. The prayers of those participating in the Mass join with those of people throughout the Archdiocese as a spiritual welcome.

While pastoral imagery employed by the Church might be unfamiliar to 21st century inhabitants of an urban/suburban area such as this, it is important to grasp the analogy. The flock (the people of God) belongs to Jesus Christ, and His chosen pastor (the bishop or archbishop) shepherds Christ’s people in His name.

The days leading up to Sept. 8 present a good opportunity to pray for Archbishop Chaput. The following prayer from the Sacramentary, or book of prayers used for the Mass, may be used in a novena or other spiritual sacrifice for him:

Lord our God,

You have chosen your servant Charles to be a shepherd of your flock in the tradition of the apostles.

Give him a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he build your Church as a sign of salvation for the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.