The pews of Little Haiti's Saint Mary's Catholic Church were filled around 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon, the moment Pope Benedict XVI's tenure came to a close.
Students at St. Mary's gathered to pay tribute for the outgoing Pontiff, who is the only Pope they can remember.
"He loved helping people out," said student Alan Ramirez, "He loved showing people how to pray."
There are an estimated 1.3 billion Roman Catholics in South Florida, and at St. Mary's, the youngest of them prayed for a blessing to the now Pope Emeritus.
"We prayed so everything can go well for him, and that he can get his health good," said fourth grader Lara Sofia Gonzalez.
At Davie's St. Catholic Church, parishoners agreed with 85-year-old Pope Benedict's decision to abdicate the Papacy given his advancing age and failing health.
"Because he had been with Pope John Paul II during his difficult years, he recognizes that physically and mentally, he's possibly unable to fulfill the obligations, and I'm sure he was spoken to from above," said parishoner Bob Locanto.
With his "Pope Emeritus" title, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to spend the remainder of his days in prayer, and living in a Vatican retirement apartment.