Church Deacon Andrew Acampora at St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott said local parishioners he has spoken with are waiting to see what happens following Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.
"It is going to take some time before it all comes together," he said.
They, like Catholics elsewhere, were surprised by this morning's news that the pope will resign Feb. 28, due to waning strength at his advanced age, 85.
The deacon said he will pray to the Holy Spirit for a pope who will continue to lead and serve the church.
Church members have to be able to pray for someone who is faith-filled and who will lead the church through the next century, a time when there are many issues, the deacon said.
Deacon Andrew said he hopes the pope is someone who has the welfare of all people in mind, overseeing the church and taking care of people of all races, creeds and colors.
Each pope has different strengths, he said. Pope Benedict was a brilliant man.
According to a Vatican spokesman, a successor to Pope Benedict could be elected by Easter, which falls on March 31.
What's your reaction to the news of Pope Benedict's decision to retire? Tell us in the comments.