AUSTIN (KXAN) - As the news of Pope Benedict XVI's announcement spread, it was a focal point at many Catholic masses Monday in Austin.
At noon mass at St. Mary Cathedral downtown, the priest addressed the pope's resignation in his homily.
Many parishioners were surprised by the pope's decision to resign at the end of the month, citing health concerns.
"It's very sad." said Samantha Kelley, "The Holy Father definitely is a father to us all. So, it's sad to see him go."
However, many feel confident in his decision.
"I really respect him for being humble enough to realize that he can't fulfill the duties that he's been called to," said Matt Melcher.
Parishioners at St. Austin Catholic Church got word during early morning mass.
"I was really surprised," said Marissa Lamoure, "I wasn't expecting that. I don't know if it's God's will, but that's the way it is."
Catholics now are reflecting on the past and looking to the future.
"We definitely respect his decision, and are just praying for his intentions and for his successor," said Kelley.
Many think the next Leader of the Catholic Church will embody much of what Pope Benedict stood for in his eight years as Pontiff.
"I think that we want to see a pope who continues to engage with the modern world, continues to take the questions of the modern world very seriously, and answers them often with more questions," said Bill McCormick.
About a quarter of all Texans are Roman Catholics. It's the largest single religious denomination in Texas. The numbers are about the same in central Texas. In the 25 counties served by the Diocese of Austin, there are more than 450,000 Catholics.
Winter is invading Texas with a vengeance as snow, sleet and ice were unleashed on much of northern and western sections of the state.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.
Caldwell County residents gathered Thursday evening to organize their fight against a proposed landfill that they say poses a hazard that they don't need.
The pastor of the Austin church attended by the teacher who was killed Thursday in Benghazi remembered him as a spiritual friend dedicated to improving the lives of others.
In just a few months, Pflugerville will be home to a new water park. It's just the latest development as the community becomes a major suburb.