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Worshippers Surprised By Pope’s Announcement

St. Patrick's Cathedral/ file (credit: Kristin Thorne /CBS 2)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral/ file (credit: Kristin Thorne /CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Worshippers from around the Tri-State area were surprised to hear Monday that Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning at the end of the month due to failing health.

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, many were saddened by the news.

“He traveled around the world, he tried to get world peace,” one woman said. “I think he did the best he could.”

Frank Bruno of Bronxville praised Pope Benedict for having the courage to step down.

“He saw his predecessor having to go through old age and suffering so obviously he thinks it’s the right thing to do for the church,” he said.

Many parishioners attending morning Mass at a church in Nutley, New Jersey said they too were shocked.

“I was very surprised,” one woman said. “Who’s going to be replacing him? Who’s going to take his place?”

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that he will step down on Feb. 28 — the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. The 85-year-old pope made the announcement during a meeting of Vatican cardinals.

There are more than 10 million Catholics in the Tri-State area, according to a 2010 religious census by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

According to the Archdiocese of New York, there are about four million Catholics within the five boroughs alone.

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