Many in the Little Rock community were shocked to hear the news.
Little Rock is home to a growing number of people who see the Pope as their religious leader and this announcement comes just days before the beginning of the solemn observance of lent.
Jason Pohlmeier the principal at St. Edward's Catholic School in Little Rock said this announcement and the impending transition of power, is just a minor blink in the religion's long tradition.
"The church has been doing this now for 2,000 years," he said.
Although, Pohlmeier said, things have also changed greatly.
A sign of that change, for example, the Vatican has a youtube.com channel, the Pope even has a twitter.com account.
"And keeping up with these is a big strain on someone," said Pohlmeier.
Early reports are the Pope, who turns 85 in April, is stepping down as his health deteriorates.
Typically pope's are replaced after they die, but this marks only the second time in 600 years that a Pope will resign.