GREEN BAY (WFRV)--While thousands of people lined St. Peters square to say goodbye to Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics in Green Bay gathered at noon mass Wednesday with mixed emotions to honor the man who served as Pope since 2005.
Marlo Santillan, a Catholic said, "You don't have a had all of a sudden and you wonder where the church is going to be going."
Mary Sturzl said, "He's a wonderful man. He's done many things for the Church.
Pope Benedict announced he was retiring on February 11th--just days before Lent.
"Lent is one of the best times to do it because during lent Christ dies but then he is reborn, he's resurrected," said Santillan.
At 1:00 p.m. the bells at St. Willebrord Parish rang, which would have been 8:00 p.m. in Rome--signifying the last moment as Pope for Benedict XVI; ending an era and beginning a new one
Fr. Andrew Cribben at St. Willebrord Parish said, "It gives us great possibilities to look forward at the next man who becomes to face the same challenges on a day to day basis that Benedict did."
This is the first time in 600 years a pope has retired, but Fr. Cribben said his decision allows a younger and more energetic pope to take his place. Something Catholics feel will only strengthen their faith.
"There's always a leader. The Holy Spirit leads the Catholic Church and we're not left without someone in charge." said Sturzl.
Fr. Cribben said, "It's kind of an in between thing. We're happy to move on and sad to see someone retire."