Q: Dear Dan, I have been more involved in this papal election than any in my life, and I have been praying every day for the cardinals and the new pope. Now that we have a new pope, how can I keep this positive momentum? I am very excited for the future of the Church, and I know I should continue to pray for Pope Francis.

A: Dear Friend, thank you for doing your part in praying for our cardinals so seriously. Our prayers really do make a difference. The Holy Spirit is clearly at work within you, as the Church has always asked us to pray for and with our popes. These are exciting times!

One way you can keep your heart and prayers connected to our new pope is to stay abreast of monthly papal prayer intentions. These intentions are provided every year by the Holy See, and you can find them through EWTN here. We can offer these intentions any time we pray. When we do this, we unite our hearts with the pope and millions of Catholics, through his prayers, for the needs of the world.

The most effective way to remember to offer these and other intentions is to integrate them as a normal part of our daily Rosary or other prayer routines. As we begin our normal prayers, we can offer an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” — and simply speak to the Lord saying, “For the intentions of the pope.”

Beyond praying with the pope for his intentions, we can also offer up our own special intentions for the needs we know he has, based on a common understanding of the challenges we face in the Church today. I outlined some of these in my post, “Lenten Intentions for the New Pope,” and they will likely remain on my list for the majority of the pontificate of Pope:

•   That he has a profound relationship with Christ — and that he might emulate Christ in his prayer and leadership.

•   That his love for Christ is so compelling that millions of the Lord’s stray children will return to the endless well of love and grace that God has for them in his Church.

•   That he will have the courage and wisdom necessary to continue the implementation of the true intent of the second Vatican Council and the related “reform of the reform.”

•   That he will successfully heal the schism that has plagued the Church for more than 1,000 years.

•   That he will continue to inspire the youth of the world to bring about, through vocations and active lay participation in the mission of the Church, the continued fruit of the New Evangelization.

•   That he will ignite the faith of Latinos around the world and especially in the United States.

I am grateful for your commitment to pray for Pope Francis. May your faithfulness and enthusiasm bear fruit for the needs of our Church!

To read more from Dan on the faithful Catholic spirituality, click here.