STOCKTON (CBS13) – Members of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton gathered Thursday to pray for the cardinals in Vatican City as they select a new pope.

Catholics came together to give thanks for retired Pope Benedict XVI, but also to pray for the cardinals who are gathering in Rome — getting ready to select the next Holy Father of the Catholic Church.

“I think the election of a new pope is always an exciting time,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire, Cathedral of the Annunciation. “Everybody you talk to has something to say, has some kind of a thought on this.”

Member Wanda Scheuermann wants “someone who really has a sense of the worldwide church.”

Even the bishop knows what he wants in the next pope.

“To have a man who will be wise in serving as the pope and somebody who has courage to face the challenges and the strength to do so,” said Blaire.

Which is why, he says, a mass to pray for the cardinals making this very important decision is all the more important.

“I think the Holy Father plays a significant role in the modern world, where everything has become smaller so to speak,” said Blaire. “So the sense of a universal church takes on a greater significance.”

As the world waits in anticipation, Blaire says you can bet, even at this point, no one knows — including the cardinals — who will become the next Holy Father.

“They won’t know themselves. When they go into the conclave they may have some ideas. I think, certainly they are probably discussing what kind of a pope do we need in the church today,” said Blaire.

Many hope the cardinals will make this decision by the beginning of Holy Week, which leads up to Easter. Many in the church feel there is a strong likelihood that will happen.


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