Raleigh, N.C. — As Catholics around the world play a waiting game for their next pope, regular services continue for the faithful. In Raleigh, that means Saturday evening Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
"Saturday nights are typical Mass," said Alan Tonelli. He drove in from Cary to celebrate the weekly ritual.
"There is a great group of families who sit together at Mass, and we have a good time," said Kinney Bloomer, of Apex.
This week, the talk is of the coming conclave in Rome and the selection of a new leader for the Catholic Church. The post is open after Pope Benedict XVI retired Thursday.
"I grew up with the last pope, and it was shocking that there was a change in the first place. So, for someone to be stepping down, that's a big deal," Bloomer said.
Local Catholics shared differing opinions about the key qualities they hope for in their next leader.
"Maybe somebody with maybe a little more liberal interpretation of church law," Tonelli said.
Stephanie Razzeto, of Apex, disagreed. "I personally would really like to see one who is going to continue Pope Benedict's conservatism."
With the College of Cardinals set to gather on Monday to begin the election process, Catholics and others all over the world are wondering who the next pope will be and how long the selection will take.
Father Dan Oschwald called it a learning experience. "You have a new pope being elected while the previous pope is still living. How does this happen? We've all been learning, haven't we," he said.
Bishop Michael Burbidge will celebrate a special Mass at Sacred Heart Monday where he's expected to discuss the selection of a new pope.