EL PASO, Texas - Local Catholic church leaders say El Paso's new bishop may already have been chosen, but won't be appointed until after a new pope is elected. It's a small sacrifice for some, who say Pope Benedict may have sacrificed his entire legacy all in the name of humility.
"I'm really sad to lose him. I really liked Pope Benedict but if that's what he thinks is best than I trust him," said one El Paso resident.
After nearly eight years Pope Benedict XVI believed it best to age in retirement, a privilege no other pope in recent history has been allowed to indulge.
"This kind of thing doesn't happen very often," said Sister Helen Santamaria of the Villa Maria Shelter.
Not since the middle ages, but Santamaria says Pope Benedict watched his predecessor Pope Paul John II publicly suffered from Parkinson's disease and old age, which Sister Santamaria said must have influenced his decision.
"Pope John Paul carried on and carried on and it was getting more and more difficult," Santamaria said. "And I'm sure the people around him were seeing how he was struggling and suffering and so I don't know but I would think Pope Benedict was probably think I don't want that to happen."
It's not a vain decision, but a meek one, according to Monsignor Arturo Banuelas who learned about the resignation after preaching mass.
"It's a humble decision to say I bring a lot of gifts to this ministry but I also have some physical limitations and I have to admit to them, so that the church can continue," Banuelas said.
Banuelas who has his hands full preparing for Lent said he doesn't feel abandoned during one of Catholicisms most important weeks but empowered to start fresh.
"The timing is spiritual because this is a spiritual moment, in his life as well, and he's carrying the church through another spiritual time," Banuelas said. "It's a time of prayer, it's a time to look at ourselves as a church and then through Lent, come out as a new church."
This year will bring a new pope and for El Paso, a new bishop who's announcement may be even further delayed by Benedict's resignation, but on the way.