"I was very sad totally, he is a saint," says St. Mary's parishioner Madeline Bender. "He's very good for our Catholic church and we must pray because we want another holy man. He's very intellectual and has taught us many things."
In his statement, the pope said in part he has, "come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine Ministry."
At age 85 and after seven years as Pope, the announcement that he will resign saddened many of his followers, including those just leaving mass at St. Mary's in Hagerstown.
"I respect him a lot, because he had the humility and the courage to say, I'm sick, my health is declining," says Rev. Collin Poston.
Known as a "bridge builder," the Pope turned to technology more than ever before to reach out to Catholics around the world even using social media. His prolific writings include two popular books about Jesus.
"He's willing to reach out to people on Twitter, he travels, he does a lot of teaching, he's written books on Jesus, he's been a very good teacher and he's been very good at reaching out to all different types of people," says Poston.
"I was pleased because I've been praying for him," says parishioner Susanna Kankam. "I know his health is getting down and this work is so tedious, so I always pray for him every day. I was pleased that he's tendered his resignation, it is the work of the Holy Spirit."