GREEN BAY (WFRV)--The bells of St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral chimed at 1:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon where it was 8:00 p.m. in Rome, signifying Pope Benedict the XVI's final day as Pope.
Bishop David Ricken said, "As we try to understand this we must understand his great concern for our church."
Dozens of Catholics attended Thursday's special Thanksgiving Mass lead by Bishop Ricken to honor the Pope and look forward to a new leader.
"It puts us all a little bit on edge but we know God's walking with us. Jesus is with us and is sending the Holy Spirit to help them. We're confident they'll pick someone good," said Ricken.
After 8 years, Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down on February 11th --just days before Lent.
Fr. John Girotti with St. Francis Xavier Cathedral said, "We're grieving the loss of the Pope but also our hope for the gift of a new Holy Father which is very much reflective of our Easter faith as Christians."
Although the Catholic Church is losing their leader, talking to Catholics they say their faith in the Holy Spirit will be stronger than ever during this transition, who they say is their true leader.
Joyce Janus, who attended Thursdasy's mass said, "We're all strong enough to keep our Catholic faith and keep the church going on."
And Kitty Baierl who attended the mass"God is the leader of the church not the Pope so as long as your faith is in the Lord, Popes come and go. The Lord is behind it all."
This is the first time in 600 years a Pope has retired.
Although Catholics are sad to see him leave, Bishop Ricken says this gives the church the unique opportunity to bring in someone younger and who will reach out to a newer generation.
Bishop Ricken said, "The challenges facing today, all the wonderful advances in technology and communication and information, It's a great opportunity for us but We have to stay more on the cutting edge to get the good news out here and that's the challenge for us because we move kind of slowly."