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Local Catholics Gather to Honor, Celebrate Pope Benedict XVI

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Catholics in Western Massachusetts took time on Thursday to pray for Pope Benedict XVI as he left the Vatican.

Springfield Bishop Timothy McDonnell celebrated a special mass for the intentions of the outgoing Pope.

A number of area priests as well as Catholics from throughout the area took time to keep the Pope in their prayers.

Among them was Nancy Pratt of Belchertown.

“I am very proud of our Pope and what he has done for the Catholics of the world and for Christians, and Jewish and all faiths of the world in a unifying purpose,” says Pratt.

Also attending the mass was Marilyn Stearns of Longmeadow. “He’s inspired by God. He did a lot of prayer. He has a reason so I’m here to pray for our new Pope to be and also for him too,” she adds.

Bishop McDonnell says today was not only a day to pray for Pope Benedict XVI, but to reflect on all he’s done during his papacy.

“John Allen had a wonderful line. He said people came to see Pope John Paul II and to hear Benedict, continue to hear him, his words, read his writings, continue to study what he has said because he’s clear, concise and right on point so many times in so many ways,” says Bishop McDonnell.

Bishop McDonnell also asked the congregation to keep the Pope’s successor in their prayers as he leads the church through a new era.

One final thought on Benedict, offered by the Bishop.

Bishop McDonnell says there were those who said he was God’s Rottweiler when he followed Pope John Paul II. He adds that we’ve learned that Pope Benedict XVI was our gentle German shepherd.


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