Vermont Catholics are expressing surprise that Pope Benedict plans to step down at the end of the month.
After years on the throne, Pope Benedict will become the first pontiff to resign in almost six centuries.
Rob Lukaskiewiecz is the dean of students at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland. Lukaskiewiecz says he was stunned when he first read the headline online.
"You know and I actually spent a brief moment thinking that it may not be true – that it was one of these hoaxes on the Internet. But it became increasingly clear that this was in fact the reality," Lukaskiewiecz said.
Lukaskiewiecz says parishioners in Vermont should expect to go through a period of questioning about how the Church will move forward.
"Whenever you have a transition at this high level there’s always some question about who will the new leader be and what sort of impact will he have on the Church," he said.
Lukaskiewiecz says the ideal pope for Catholics in Vermont would be someone who is extroverted and who relates well with the public.