News of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation also quickly spread throughout the Valley. Many in the Catholic community were shocked but supportive of the announcement.
As they do every day, the church bells at St. John's Cathedral in Fresno rang out, inviting parishioners inside for afternoon prayer. Monday's mass was a little different than most.
St. John's parishioner Nancy Beltran says, "The father just got up there and made the announcement that the Pope has decided to resign."
Catholic Diocese of Fresno chancellor Teresa Dominguez says, "It is certainly a historical event for us, living here in this time. It's been 600 years since a Pope has resigned from his office."
Pope Benedict's decision to step down from the holy seat took many by surprise.
John Molligan says, "My first feeling was shock I guess. I never expected that. I never heard of a Pope resigning."
Maria Schutt says, "I cried. Tears started coming to my face."
"I was shocked to hear it and I said what are we going to do now?," says Stella Ramirez.
Those feelings quickly turned to ones of respect and admiration. The Pope admitted he no longer has the strength to carry on his duties. Parishioners say he acted as true leader, putting his church and it's people first.
Steven Garcia says, "It's kind of reassuring that he's that well aware of himself to look out for himself and the religion."
"Pretty gutsy thing to admit to that shortcoming and deal with it effectively and positively," says Molligan.
John Molligan says Pope Benedict will be remembered as a man of strong conviction, compassion and deep devotion. The Catholic community has faith the right person will be chosen to take his place.
"I hope we get perhaps a younger man, younger in terms of physical age, but with all the wisdom Pope Benedict has," says Molligan.
Pope Benedict will resign February 28th, 2013. Vatican officials say a new pope could be elected as early as March.