PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -


Giving his final waves to cheering masses and taking one last ride through St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI, 85, is the first since the Middle Ages choosing to say farewell.

"I give him credit for the courage to break about 600 years of tradition," said Father David Foxen.

Foxen, a missionary at Our Lady of Solitude Parish in Palm Springs says he supports the Roman Catholic Church leader's decision.

"A lot of people I've talked to respect and appreciate what he's done. He's making a decision he's very comfortable with and in the eyes of God," said Foxen.

Benedict announced in his final public address how the church has brought him moments of joy and light, but explained there's a price to pay for the role as pope, referring to scandals that challenged his eight-year papacy.

"To be the pope is to be a spiritual leader of the whole church. There's always something that isn't working right," said Foxen.

Benedict said, "I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope."

As Benedict resigns Thursday, he begins his next venture focusing on prayer and meditation. Foxen thanks him for his writings and sends him well wishes.

"I hope he will have a time of real peace and tranquility," said Foxen.

As thousands of worshippers wave goodbye to this pope, they await his successor.

"Personally, I'd like to see someone who's very pastoral. Somebody who has contact with the people," said Foxen.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict will meet with his cardinals for the last time before taking a helicopter to the papal summer residence north of Rome.

Don't miss history in the making as Pope Benedict marks his last day as pontiff.
KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will bring you live coverage of the pope's farewell from Vatican City Thursday morning beginning at 5 a.m.

We'll also bring you live coverage in Spanish on our sister station Kuna Telemundo.