Catholics in Kern County and around the world are still trying to absorb Monday's surprise announcement from Pope Benedict XVI.
The 85-year-old Pontiff says he will resign.
Pope Benedict becomes the first pope to step down in 600 years.
The Pontiff had warned before, he would relinquish power if he thought he could not do his job. But, no modern pope has ever done that.
In a statement, Pope Benedict cited his failing health, saying due to his advanced age he is no longer suited to "an adequate exercise of his ministry."
That means after eight years, the world's 1.2 billion Catholics are getting a new pope.
We spoke with parishioners at St. Francis Church in Bakersfield, who said the announcement came as a shock.
"It's historical, you know. I mean when you stop to think about it, for 600 years no pope ever resigned. And, if they did resign it was because of a personal matter or something not conducive to the position he's holding," said parishioner Vince Sakowski.
"He has such a human side to him. I think he must know it's time for him to step down. It's a huge responsibility and if his health is declining, he would know best. The Spirit would certainly be working through him," said parishioner Bill Lazzerini.
Some say, the resignation may mean that age will become less of a factor when electing a new pope, since candidates may no longer feel compelled to stay for life.
Pope Benedict plans to step down February 28th. Shortly after that, cardinals will choose a successor.