Like many around the world, West Roxbury residents were surprised at Pope Benedict XVI resignation at the end of the month - the first pope in close to 600 years to step down from what is usually a lifelong position.
"I'm very surprised, but I understand due to his age. And he feels that he can't continue in that capacity and I wish him well," said Margaret Kelly, of West Roxbury, a St. Theresa's parishioner.
The 86-year-old pope citied age and diminished energy as to why he is resigning, and has decided not to die in office. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.
"It is surprising. I didn't know a pope could resign," said Sarah Stack, of West Roxbury, who attends St. Mary's in Dedham.
And the naming of a new pope fascinates residents, too. Kelly said she found the historical moment interesting, and said while she doesn't have a preference of where the next pope is from, it'd be exciting if he were from Ireland.
State Rep. Ed Coppinger, who grew up in the St. Theresa Parish, and now attends Holy Name, said the local talk has been on some other topics, "I was surprised to hear that Pope Benedict was resigning. Especially since he is the first pope to do so in six centuries. I haven't heard too much local talk about the resignation and I think that is because of the weather we've had."
And what about what folks would like to see in next pope?
"Maybe to be more open," said Kelly.
"Just to keep with the tradition of Catholicism," said Stack.
Added Coppinger, "I hope for a strong leader who can lead the church into the 21st Century."
What's your reaction to the news of Pope Benedict's decision to retire? Tell us in the comments.