(KMOV) -- The Archdiocese of St. Louis released the statement below moments after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday morning to the Cardinals in Rome:
"The people of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and Catholics around the world learned today that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective February 28, 2013, because of advanced age and declining health. He made this surprise announcement to the Cardinals in Rome earlier this morning.
In this Year of Faith, we pray for the Holy Father and offer him our fraternal support. We have been blessed by his leadership in boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and challenging us all to draw close to Christ. We also begin our prayer for the Cardinals of the Church as they prepare to go to Rome to elect a successor."