Miami's Archbishop, Thomas Wenski, and the local faithful pray for the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals that begin the process choosing the next Pope.
The conclave has begun. As the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals begin the process of deliberating, Miami's Archbishop, Thomas Wenski, and the local faithful are praying for them.
"We are praying the Holy Spirit will guide the cardinals so they will pick a successor to St. Peter who will be a man of wisdom and a man of courage," said Wenski.
At the very moment the cardinals walked into the Sistine Chapel for the start of the conclave, the archbishop led a votive mass at St. Martha's Church in Miami.
The process to choose a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics is a reclusive one. It means no telephones, no tweeting. The Cardinals won't be seen or heard from until two thirds of them agree on a successor for Pope Benedict the 16th, who abdicated at the end of February.
The choice that is being made in Vatican City is one the whole world is watching.
"Whoever becomes Pope we can be sure of one thing, that he will be Catholic. The Pope might bring new styles and new ideas but he's not going to bring a new gospel," said Wenski, who describes an ideal pope as one with the charisma of John Paul II, and the deep theological mind of Benedict XVI.
The new Pope will have to guide the church through its many struggles such as claims of abuse by Catholic priests around the world.
Archbishop Wenki says the church faces a culture of secularism. He says secularism has convinced modern people that it is acceptable to lead one's life as if God does not matter. It's a task the future Pope will have to tackle.
"The new pope will have to be a shepherd of the people, leading them through the turbulent waters of this present time, in such a way that they will embrace the gospel message and allow that message to change them, and make them the disciples of faith and of hope in our world today," the Archbishop said.
On Tuesday, black smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel. Until a plume of white smoke rises from that smoke stack _ the signal to the world's Catholics that a new pope has been chosen _ the faithful in South Florida will be watching and waiting.