MANATEE -- Faith in the future of the Roman Catholic Church remains strong in Manatee County and the Diocese of Venice, despite the announcement Monday of the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane, himself hospitalized while recovering from a medical procedure, expressed gratitude for "Pope Benedicts remarkable ministry as the successor of Saint Peter. It is no coincidence that the Holy Father concluded his statement assuring the Church that he will devote his remaining years to 'serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer', the bishop said in a statement released by the diocese.
"I know this is a shock for some people, said Father Rev. Rafal Ligenza, parochial vicar at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Bradenton during Monday morning Mass. "We have to realize that Pope Benedict is also a man. We have to be just thankful for what Pope Benedict XVI has done for us."