Local Catholics Pray for Papal Transition

Local Catholics Pray for Papal Transition

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The pope's window at the Apostolic Palace, where he normally reads from on Sundays, was sealed off. The pope's window at the Apostolic Palace, where he normally reads from on Sundays, was sealed off.
Catholics in Philadelphia attended a special mass the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City Sunday. Catholics in Philadelphia attended a special mass the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City Sunday.
PHILADELPHIA -

For the first time since the death of Pope John Paul II, there was no Sunday papal blessing at the Vatican.

The pope's balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square was sealed off as Catholics worldwide await the College of Cardinals to convene in Rome.

Meanwhile, local Catholics streamed into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City to pray.

Archbishop Charles Chaput explained the process for papal transition to FOX 29.

"We join together in our local church here in Philadelphia to pray for our universal pastor," Chaput said in a mass to pray for the new Pope.

 "Coming to mass tonight (Sunday) is a sort of putting myself into the passion of the Christ," said Bill Hockwind of Chester County.

A customary prayer for Pope Benedict has been omitted from all Catholic masses until a new pope is elected. Some faithful are hoping for the beginning of a new direction for the church.

"I want a man who will stand up for his principles and the Catholic Church and not afraid to represent," said Toni Gratkowski of King of Prussia. She was among the hundreds who attended Sunday night mass.

Some are hoping the new pope will bring new life to the church after many years of scandal and dwindling enrollment.

"We must bring back those people who have been turned off from the sex situation which was very bad," said Lorraine Kelly of Chicago.

Some are hoping for a new pope with progressive views to win back Catholics who have left the church.

"I want someone that's going to bring a new direction. Obviously, youth would be nice. A fresh perspective," said Kurt Brooks of Center City.

Currently, 115 cardinals are due to take part in the papal conclave, which many believe will start around March 10.

The Vatican seems to be aiming for an election by mid-March, so the new pope can be installed in office before March 24 and lead Holy Week services culminating in Easter the following Sunday.

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