DRAPER Utah (ABC 4 News) - News of the pope's resignation reached Utah Catholics rapidly.
And at a 9 a.m. church service at St. John the Baptist catholic church many of the parishioners offered special prayers for Pope Benedict and his successor.
"Even though it's been 600 years since a pope resigned, in many ways I'm not surprised," says Monsignor Terence Moore of St. John's parish.
But still Utah Catholics were caught off guard by the pope's resignation.
The head of the Draper catholic church understood the move to step aside.
"He's 85 years old and I just think he would like to see an orderly transition for the next holy father. i was surprised," says Msgr. Moore.
The pope's resignation marks the third time in less than a decade that Utah Catholics will have a different pope to lead them.
"I've been around 5 pope's that's been around my date," says Norbert Martinez who attended the morning service. "It saddens me to see that he wants to retire. For us Catholics, it's kind of a deep hurt.'
Martha Happ also attended the morning mass. She was taken by surprise as well.
"After seeing it on the news I reflected on it and thought wow this is a very humble thing for the pope to do for the catholic church," Happ says.
Back in 2006, parishioner John Nobile was just a few yards away from Pope Benedict as he made his way through the plaza of the Vatican. He snapped several photos of the Pope.
"We were there early," he says. "We got there early and he happened to be in his car and he came right around."
One of his photos of the pope is framed inside the church.
Nanette Marlow was also among those in the audience when the pope approached them.
"I was in awe, absolutely in awe because it's so special to see the pope," recalls Marlowe.
In a bit of irony, Monsignor Moore announced his resgnation Sunday due to health reasons. He says he and the pope didn't coordinate their announcement. But he does understand the pope's reasoning.
"I know in my own case I get more fatigued from that chemo therapy i take and so you can't quite predict how you're going to be feeling," he says. "And you still have a lot of pastoral responsibilities and you multiply that a thousand times in the case of the holy father."