The Ottumwa Courier

March 1, 2013

Local priests react to pope’s final day

CINDY TOOPES
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Catholics locally expressed a tinge of sadness as well as enthusiasm with this week’s resignation farewell for Pope Benedict XVI.

Fr. Bernie Weir of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ottumwa said the pope has served the church very well over the years.

“I wish him the best in his retirement,” he said. “I’m excited by the possibilities of the church in the future.”

At St. Patrick’s Church in Ottumwa, Fr. Patrick Hilgendorf was offering a special Mass Thursday when the pope finished his papacy.

“It was 1 p.m. our time when the Pope got on a helicopter to fly to the summer residence” in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome, Hilgendorf said.

Hilgendorf also said Catholics all over the world were surprised the pope was leaving.

“Everyone replied the same way — they were shocked,” Hilgendorf said. “We understand his strength isn’t what it used to be.”