Pope benedict took over as pope in 2005.
He was 78 at the time.
Father Jack McKone with Sacred Heart Catholic Church says, "He had told us as he first became pope that he would do that as long as he was physically, spiritually, psychollogically able to bear the weight of the office."
But, McKone says he didn't think the pope's resignation would come so soon.
"We accept that as being one of the conditions of our human existence, and are grateful for the time he was able to give us," McKone says. "He is also a spiritual father, the pope is, to so many people, that it is a painful loss, a personal loss for a lot of people; someone they've grown to love."
He says Pope Benedict is well-liked and is known for his writing and for being a deep-thinker and deeply spritual.
"When he was elected, I think a lot of the world, and perhaps a lot of us here in the church were surprised by what a kind and soft-spoken man he was," McKone says.
As for Pope Benedict's successor, McKone says that decision will come from a higher authority.
"The pope is the earthly, physical, and visible presence of Christ that we find here. It's been in his hands for 2000 years and through good times and bad, and will continue to be in his hands, so we trust in Him and in his guidance in the Holy Spirit who will lead us to the next pope," McKone says.
Pope Benedict's last day as pope will be Feb. 28.
Once Pope Benedict's time as pope is over, 118 cardinals will vote on who the new pope should be.