"I think what it means is that the Holy Father is saying that he cannot do any longer the work that Jesus wants him to. Being a missionary, being an evangelist, traveling."
Bishop Earl Boyea/Lansing Diocese
Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea calls Pope Benedict XVI's resignation a clear sign of how much he cares for the Church.
Bishop Boyea said he's surprised by the Pope's decision, but not shocked.
"He had been talking about this for several months, and the last couple of years about the possibility," Bishop Boyea said.
Even though many people had no idea it would happen now, local parishioners noticed the Pope's ailing health.
"When I look at him on TV and stuff, I see that," St. Mary's parishioner James Miller said. "So, I'm glad he had the boldness and the humility to say, 'I should step down now and let someone else younger, and more energetic do this wonderful work,' that he's doing as the vicar of our Catholic church."
Other say while they support the decision, it feels strange to have Pope Benedict XVI resign after experiencing the death of Pope John Paul II.
"It was such a big deal when he passed away, and so it is kind of different I guess in that we're going through the change again, but he is still alive," Betsy Joy who attends St. Mary's said. "So, I guess it's a little different."
Most people agreed it was a noble decision, and one that will only help the Catholic church moving forward.
"Now in the future, this won't be a question," Bishop Boyea said. "That if a Pope feels that he can no longer do the ministry, then he can retire."
The Bishop said it's a sign of the times. Even though it hasn't been done for six centuries, he thinks it's a respectable option, and many parishioners agree.
"It's his decision and I'm happy for whatever he decides," St. Mary's parishioner Colleen McMahon said. "I'm happy for him."
Now people just have to make sure they say the right Pope's name during mass next month.
"We'll all have to get used to saying a new name," Bishop Boyea said. "We'll probably end up writing it in our books, because we'll forget, and we'll trip back to the old one."
In the meantime, he hopes people will pray for the Pope and the election of a new one.