The Knights of Columbus is asking its members and all Catholics to pray daily for the Pope and the Church in anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI's retirement and the election of a new pope.
The Knights' campaign comes at a time when Pope Benedict XVI has publicly asked for prayers for himself, his successor and the Church.
During the papal audience on Wednesday of this past week, the Holy Father said: "Continue to pray for me, for the Church and for the future pope." He also thanked all those who have kept him in their prayers.
The Knights are asking people to record their pledge to pray at PrayerfortheChurch.com.
The names of those who have made the pledge online will be brought to the installation Mass for the new pope. In addition, physical prayer cards are available from the Knights of Columbus for use by parishes, schools or local Knights of Columbus councils.
The Knights are also encouraging people to send their prayerful support to Pope Benedict XVI directly by tweeting "I am praying for you" and the hashtag #prayerforthechurch to the Pope's twitter account @pontifex.
The prayer, written by the Knights of Columbus' supreme chaplain, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, reads:
"O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter and your Vicar on earth.
Good Shepherd, who founded your Church
on the rock of Peter's faith
and have never left your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain your Church in faith, hope and charity.
Grant, Lord Jesus, in your boundless love for us,
a new pope for your Church
who will please you by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to you,
who are the same yesterday, today and forever.
"Until a new pope is elected, we ask Catholics worldwide to pledge to say this prayer daily for Pope Benedict, for the Church and for our future pope and to encourage their friends and families to do the same," said Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the organization.
The Knights of Columbus has worked closely with the Vatican during the pontificate of Pope Benedict. In December of 2012, at St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope addressed attendees of a conference co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Anderson serves on several Vatican committees and has worked both with Pope Benedict XVI and with his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II. Anderson released a statement, noting:
"In these remaining days of his papacy, our thoughts and prayers are with Pope Benedict XVI, who has worked so hard in leading the Church and has always been such a good friend to the Knights of Columbus. We wish him all the best in his retirement. In addition, we pray for all those cardinals who will take part in the conclave and for his successor, that God may inspire them as they carry out the mission with which they are entrusted."