Monday morning's announcement from the Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI would be leaving his position at the end of the month came as a surprise to everyone, including Catholics here west of Lowell.
"Certainly it came as a big surprise, but he's been failing in health, so it's understandable that he couldn't continue on in his office," said Father Paul Ritt of St. John The Evangelist in North Chelmsford. "We'll keep him in our prayers."
In Westford, St. Catherine's Father Peter Quinn was grateful for Benedict’s service to the church, as well as the opportunity his resignation brings to the next generation of Catholic clergy.
“It was an incredibly considerate gesture, him realizing that he doesn’t have the energy and mind and heart to continue the position, just incredibly considerate and gracious to the people of God,” said Quinn. “His decision won’t have much impact here in Westford, but we’ll definitely be praying for him.”
What's your take on the Pope's decision to resign? Let us know in the comments.