METUCHEN — Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will retire at the end of February took Catholics around the world by surprise. It is the first time a Pope to resign in 600 years.
“Along with the rest of the world, I continue to process today’s sudden and unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will resign his office of Bishop of Rome on Feb. 28,” said Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen. ”It is not a complete surprise, however, that this man of great humility and dedication would recognize his inability to carry out fully the duties his office requires and would put first what ultimately is best for the Catholic Church and its members. I ask all to join me in praying for the Holy Father and for the College of Cardinals which will elect his successor.”
The bishop has scheduled a Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Avenue, Metuchen. The Mass is open to all. Priests of the diocese will concelebrate and representatives from parishes and schools will participate.