The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Office of Communications issues the following statement from Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of Grand Rapids, in response to the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

A highly regarded theologian and scholar, Pope Benedict XVI brought Catholics to a deeper understanding of our faith through his extensive writings and focus on keeping Christ at the center our Christian life. His study of theology and philosophy and deep intellect enabled him to speak with a pastor’s heart while drawing from a variety of sources that appealed to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. His life and ministry will be forever intertwined with many significant moments in the Church’s history – from his notable contribution at the Second Vatican Council, to his work as president of the Preparatory Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to his decision to resign from the papacy. Through Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer and witness, the Church has been granted great treasures. May Pope Benedict XVI now rest in eternal peace. Please join me in praying for the repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.