This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s name. We regret the error.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Catholic world prays as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lies close to death at the Vatican. The Bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese William Byrne expressed his admiration for Pope Benedict.

Bishop Byrne told 22News he respects the now 95-year-old Pope Emeritus for making the difficult decision about knowing when to step down when he could no longer be effective because of health concerns.

“Our prayers are for a peaceful passing. It’s the tradition of the church to pray to St. Joseph for a peaceful and holy death, the foster father of our lord to welcome him when his time has come,” expressed Bishop Byrne.

In the latest report from the Vatican, we learn that the Pope Emeritus is alert and lucid but there is no change in the gravity of his serious illness.