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      Local church holds special mass honoring pope

      Here in the Midlands, St. John Neumann Church offered a special mass in honor of the holy father.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Here in the Midlands, St. John Neumann Church offered a special mass in honor of the holy father.

      The congregation came together to celebrate the pope's many years of service to the church.

      Father Frederick Masad says he respects the pope for stepping down and leaving his position early.

      "To my mind it's a very honorable thing," said Masad. "It takes a big person to say, 'I can't do what's expected of me. Somebody else can come in and do it, but I can't.' To me that takes a big person, man or woman."

      It has been six hundred years since a pope has stepped down. Most stay until death, but Masad says in the early days of the church, it was not uncommon for a pope to resign.