CLEVELAND-- Bishop Richard Lennon led a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. John Cathedral shortly before Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican Thursday.
The Bishop called the pope a Good Shepherd through his words and his deeds. "For we have been enriched by the ministry, by the faith, hope and charity of this wonderful Shepherd who has led us well,” he said.
Vanessa Griffin-Campbell was among the Catholics at the noontime mass. She said Pope Benedict was leader of all Christian faiths. "In the African-American community, we say well done faithful servant and he did that. He did what was best for the church and the world,” she said.
The mass was a time to reflect and offer profound gratitude to the Holy Father and how he has served the Catholic Church these past eight years. "I think he has been a wonderful Shepherd for us, especially for young people -- just a great model and encouragement for us and our faith,” Catholic Christie Fleming added.
Bishop Lennon said the pontiff should be remembered as a human being who was motivated by love to give his all to God and the Church. The faithful offered prayers to the pope and for the person who would replace him.
"The task to lead a billion Catholics is quite formidable and all the different problems that the Church has had recently, so he is going to inherit all that,” Charles Darrah said.
After some rest, the Holy Father is expected to return to the Vatican as the Pope Emeritus.