Church prays for Pope Benedict XVI at service

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A picture of Pope Benedict XVI is placed at the front of St. Juliana Catholic Church this Sunday morning.

They're honoring him on the day he delivers his last prayer to thousands of supporters at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

A prayer many watched including John Conway.

"I thought it was a kind of sad," Conway said. "But it's kind of reality too and I think he's in bad health and it's in his right time to leave."

Edward Downey also feels it's time for the 85-year-old Pope to step down.

"I think it's a good thing because if he doesn't have the health, vigor and the stamina then we can have a young guy come in and lead us," Downey said.

Many who looked on watched to see if the 85-year-old Pope is in good health.

Father Alfredo Hernandez of St. Juliana Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, listened closely to his last message.

"What I found fascinating as always is that he kept a focus on Christ and the message of today's gospel," he said.  "The gospel of transfiguration."

During mass churchgoers said a prayer for the pope.

"Certainly are asking people to keep him in mind and thanks giving and asking the lord to take care of him in the rest of his life," Father Hernandez said.

For the first time in six centuries, the pope will step down Thursday.

As the search begins for a new pope, followers of the catholic church have their opinions on what they'd like to see out of the next pope.

"Just a little bit more push for more unity," Conway said. "In terms of less controversy."

"A little bit more of vigorous outreach to catholics to tell them to come home," Downey added.

I'm ryan calhoun wptv newschannel 5.


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