Local Catholics watch conclave closely, await new pope

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The world got its only glimpseTuesday into the now secret process to select the new pope.

Black smoke poured from a chimney at the Sistine Chapel,signaling that a decision has yet to be made.

Catholics worldwide, including the faithful in Jonesboro,are now anxious to see who will succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

"I keep praying, and I know if it's in the hands of the Lord,"Sister Elaine Willett said, "we'll get who He wants."

Sister Elaine and the other Olivetan Benedictine Sisters atthe Holy Angels convent in Jonesboro will watch the proceedings at the Vaticanclosely, alongside millions of others from the comfort of their couch.

The nuns plan to gather each evening around the television tofind out what developments have come that day from Vatican City.

They are also praying for the group of 115 cardinals nowmeeting behind closed doors, as they keep voting to choose the next leader ofthe Roman Catholic Church.

"If the Lord really guides each one of them, keeps them frombeing, I'd say, selfish or looking at only one aspect," Sister Elaine said, "theresults will be good."

She says that she is largely unfamiliar with the currentgroup of cardinals, so she is unsure which of them will succeed Pope Benedictafter his stunning, historic resignation in February. She hopes that whoever itis has a broad world view and takes his role as a peacekeeper seriously.

"One thing that he will [also] probably have to do is doinga lot of traveling to actually see and be with the people," Sister Elaine said."That's what the other one [Benedict] could not do any longer."

She now waits excitedly to see when white smoke will finallybillow from the chapel chimney at the Vatican, signaling there is a new pope. Sheexpects that decision not to come anytime soon, but when it happens, she saysit will be a great day.

"Everybody will be scrambling to find out who this is, ifthey don't know, and what will he be like," Sister Elaine said. "Where will hego, really? It will be interesting."

The College of Cardinals will meet again Wednesday morningfor Mass and a new round of voting.

The conclave will continue, following the same set ofrituals each day until a new pope is elected.

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