These words from Matthew 16:18 are inscribed on the inside of the cupola of Saint Peters, directly over the high altar. Which, in turn, is directly over the tomb of Saint Peter’s remains below.
These are also the words the choir will sing as Pope Francis processes before the tomb of Saint Peter for a moment of prayer before receiving the signs of his Petrine Office, the Pallium and the Fisherman’s Ring.
Before the signs of office are bestowed, there is a prayerful dialogue, sung in Latin by the choir:
Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
Christ Conquers! Christ Reigns! Christ Commands!
These words are intertwined with a litany, calling on the Saints of Heaven to help the new Pontiff:
For Francis Supreme Pontiff, who gathereth into one all peoples through doctrine, in charity: let there be grace for the Shepherd and obedience for the flock.
Saviour of the world, come to his aid.
Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew… the list goes on through all the Apostles.
For Francis, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, who today begins his ministry: grant strength, the understanding of the Holy Spirit and sollicitude towards the Universal Church.
Saint Linus, come to their aid.
Saint Cletus, Saint Clement I, Saint Sixtus I … The list goes on through the early Popes, up to Saint Pius X (1903-1914).
There is also a prayer for those who govern and all citizens united in prayer:
To our governors and all our fellow citizens praying with us: be true peace in their hearts, and fulfillment of their vows.
Help of Christians, come to their aid.
Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Stephen, Saint Ignatius of Antioch … the list goes on naming the great Saints throughout the ages.You can download the Prayer Booklet (In PDF) and follow along during the Mass. You can watch live, and in video playback at the Vatican Player.Take these prayers to heart, and pray for our Pope daily. The prayers are listed here, because they are beautiful and with the hope you will take a moment and consider them.
At the Reception of the Pallium:
O God, who do not disappoint those who call upon you with upright and devout hearts, hear the fervent prayer of your Church and pour forth your blessing upon your servant Francis, our Pope, to whom, through our humble service, you have granted primacy in the apostolic office. May he be strengthened by the gift of your Holy Spirit and worthily exercise his high ministry in accordance with the eminent charism he has received. Through Christ our Lord.
At the Reception of the Fisherman’s Ring:
Most Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilee, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.
Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle Paul has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.
And may almighty God, by his grace, watch over him in his ministry as the Successor of the Apostle Peter and Pastor of the Universal Church.
Lord, hear our prayer.