It's a day of goodbyes at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI becomes Pope Emeritus. Thursday was his last day as head of the Catholic Church. Our Megan Cruz spoke with local Catholics as they reflect on his time in office.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We have lived with faith, marvelous moments in the history of the church and also times when the world is covered by dark clouds," said Pope Benedict XVI. Just some of his final words to the College of Cardinals at the Vatican, summing up his eight years as the head of the Catholic Church.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from office, the first pope to do so in over 600 years.
In the meantime, parishioners at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Albany prayed for him at morning mass.
"He's been an amazing scholar, an amazing teacher, he has written so profoundly, done everything he can do to bring the church together from the youth to the very old," said Joan Carr.
Having written a number of books, many say Pope Benedict will be remembered as an academic. Some say that's helped them grow in their faith.
"To say more prayers and be more religious and try to be a better person," said Joseph Berdar, Sr.
"Gives all of us confidence that he has his role as pope very much at heart and he's dedicated himself 120 percent," said Lorenz Worden.
Others saying he was too stark a contrast from his charismatic predecessor Pope John Paul II. It's widely known he was reluctant to be pope when elected in 2005.
"Distant, he was distant," said Berdar's wife, Angela.
More private? Yes. Less of a leader? People here say no, especially when it came to dealing with the church's biggest dark cloud.
Father Dan Quinn, the Associate Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church said, "He met with people who've been abused and apologized on behalf of the church and prayed with them and for them."
"Has set in place procedures to ensure it does not happen again," said Worden. "Whether it works out that way has yet to be seen, but I think a lot of very positive steps have been taken and the pope has demonstrated a lot of leadership in that area."
"We do hope that we have expressed a positive side and only Christ alone can cast light on our vantage," said Pope Benedict to the Cardinals.
Many hoping Benedict's successor will follow in his footsteps.
"A teacher, someone who keeps us close to the true faith, someone who can guide us," said Carr.