The Most Rev. Robert D. Gruss issues the following statement on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

As a leading theologian of the 20th century and the first pope to resign from office in nearly 600 years, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95, nearly 10 years after leaving the papacy to retire to what he said would be a life of prayer and study.

Bishop Robert Gruss, who was appointed by Pope Benedict to shepherd the Diocese of Rapid City in 2011, responded Saturday to news of the pope emeritus' passing.

“While never presuming upon his merits but imploring the Lord to grant him fellowship with all the saints, it is with sadness, that we have received word of the passing of Pope Benedict XVI. At this time, we offer our prayers for the repose of his soul, that the Lord will grant ‘this good and faithful servant’ eternal rest.

“His contributions and teachings for the Catholic Church are many, always safeguarding Catholic teaching on faith and morals. He, like Pope St. John Paul II before him, guided the Church into a time of renewal, through the call to a New Evangelization.”

All parishes in the Diocese of Saginaw are encouraged to offer Masses for the Holy Father’s eternal rest. Bishop Gruss also will offer a Mass; the date and time will soon be announced.