HOUSTON - For thousands of Catholics in the Houston area, Pope Benedict XVI's announcement to resign came as a complete shock Monday.
"I can only imagine how much courage and how much prayer it took for him to come to this decision. We as Catholics can only pray that he's at peace with the decision," parishioner Jolynn Zann said. "It's been on my mind all morning since the special report came on TV."
KPRC Local 2 spoke to Catholics as they walked into morning mass at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown.
"He's been a big influence. He had a big impact on my faith journey and I'm just shocked. I am in awe. I am just shocked. I don't know what to say. I'm lost for words," parishioner Alison Weber said.
"I'm sad he's resigning but I'm also hopeful that we'll get another great pope -- the third in my lifetime," parishioner Scott Norgaard said.
Parishioners at St. Vincent De Paul were stunned by the news.
"It really came as a shock," Deann Ennis said. "I love Pope Benedict. I'm praying for him and for the outcome of our church. We love the church."
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo was in Rome Monday and will help chose the next pope.
"I understand he would like to have someone before Easter," parishioner Maria Castillo Valle said. "That's understandable, to let us have a new pope to celebrate that time with him."
"Different Catholics want different things," said Father Anthony Giampietro of the University of St. Thomas. "I want someone who can really articulate the depth of the Catholic wisdom for the world. It's not limited to cardinals who can be chosen. All the cardinals will be there and they will try to find a human being who can live into this role.
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