Scranton, Lackawanna County - Catholics around the world, including in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, are reacting to news that Pope Bendict XVI plans to leave his position at the end of the month.
Most people were shocked by the news. Others say they are full of sadness.
Pope Benedict XVI took over the position in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.
"I was shocked today when I woke up," Donna Biscontini of Old Forge said. "I put on the news and I couldn't believe it."
As Bishop Joseph Bambera from the Diocese of Scranton celebrated noon-time mass at Saint Peter's Cathedral, he was both saddened but full of gratitude for the work the pope has done.
"While he embraces an incredible position in the church he understands it as one of service and not of honor," Bishop Joseph Bambera said.
Parishoners agreed with Bishop Bambera, who said Pope Benedict XVI was an incredible thinker who often had messages rooted in scripture.
"He's an intellectual giant and I'm sure he won't be forgotten," Sean Scanlon of Scranton said.
After filling the position after Pope John Paul II, parishoners say Pope Benedict XVI was the right man for the church at the time.
"We needed somebody that was able to come in with doctrine," Christina Castagnaro of Quebec City said. "Pope John Paul II was the one who brought together the youth."
At 85-years-old, citing his advanced years, Pope Benedict XVI made the historic decision to resign, something that hasn't been done in roughly 600 years.
"We're going to stand behind the pope regardless and we're going to pray for his good health," Teresa Snyder of Scranton said.