Sunday morning marked the last blessing led by Pope Benedict XVI. The 85-year-old announced earlier this month he would retire due to his declining health.
Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky said Pope Benedict XVI has done wonderful things for the Catholic faith and it's hard to see him step down. Jenky said, "He's done a lot. So I feel sadness. But I saw him a year ago in person and he was showing his years."
Jenky said the process of finding a replacement has already begun. He said the Cardinals are getting together to determine who's the next in line. "There is no such thing as campaigning. They have conversations and they pray a lot that the Holy Spirit will guide them."
Parishioners at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Peoria said they're filled with mix emotions. While they said the change may be good, it's hard to say goodbye to their Supreme Pontiff.
Sal Lococo said, "I pray for his health. I pray for the rest of his life. I also pray for the church that the church actually responds to this challenge to have a continuation of leadership."
Isaac Holterman said, "I really want a young Pope or maybe a Pope from a different country that we've never had before. Because we've always had a European Pope so I think it'd be good to have an American Pope or an African Pope."
Thomas Aguliar said, "I'm kind of excited to see what comes next, what's the next step."
Bishop Jenky said the church hopes to have a new Pope before the Holy Week, which begins on March 25. He said he is leading a service this Thursday in honor of the Pope's final day. He's inviting members of the clergy and faith to join him in prayer.