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Group Of Catholic High School Students Pays Close Attention To Conclave

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A group of Catholic High School students are paying close attention to the papal conclave and are learning about the candidates for the Church's top position. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Among the billions of people around the world who will be watching for white smoke to emerge from the Sistine Chapel announcing the new Pope will be students at Cathedral High School.

"Once that white smoke comes out, I know that everyone is going to be overjoyed and the phone's going to be ringing off the hook saying that we have a new pope," said Barbara Blaszczyk, a senior at Cathedral High School. "It's going to be a fun experience."

NY1 visited the school on the day Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with his resignation. Even then, the students were already looking forward to the next pope.

In the weeks that passed, they've learned about the many cardinals who are the candidates for the Church's most important position.

"I really want Peter Turkson to win from Ghana," said Francisca Bioh, a senior at Cathedral High School. "As a fellow Ghanian, I would want my own countryman to be one, and I also like where he stands."

"I'm a New Yorker, so I'm going to say Dolan," said Mariah Marshall, a senior at Cathedral High School. "But I think whoever they choose, that he'll do a great job, and everybody will grow to love him."

The students have also learned about the process in detail. For many, this will be the first conclave that they'll be following closely.

"I think we'll be discussing it every day until we have a decision. We'll talk about the black smoke, we'll talk about anticipation of the white smoke," said religion teacher Cynthia Garcia. "Every day, we'll throw it in there in class and discuss it."

The school also is participating in an "Adopt a Cardinal" program on a website. They were randomly assigned Rafelle Farina to pray for. He is one of the cardinals participating in the conclave.

"He will be part of the election process, so we're just asking for the Holy Spirit to guide him," Garcia said.

Many of the Cathedral High School students said that young people are the future of the church, and they're deeply invested in what happens with this conclave.

"The teenagers get, like, the bad rap for not caring as much," Blaszczyk said. "But I hope they understand that we do care and that we do want to be involved."

It's clear that this class of seniors is invested in this process.

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