The next generation of church leaders in our area are anticipating the election of the new pope. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Coming from as far as Vietnam and as near as the Upper East Side, many of the seminarians at the Cathedral Seminary in the Douglaston section of Queens are studying to become parish priests in our area. So it's no surprise that with the conclave now in session, their thoughts are increasingly on who will become their next boss.
Jose Diaz, a 23-year-old Queens native, decided to become a priest at the age of 17. Two of his influences were Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Diaz said he's looking to the next pontiff to be present for the people so he may help to increase vocations to the priesthood and restore the church's image rocked by recent scandals.
"When people see the genuine love that you have for them and the genuine care that you have, that attracts people, and that will attract men to be priests," Diaz said.
The challenges facing the next pope, who will shepherd a flock of 1.2 billion Catholics, are not lost on fellow seminarian Mark DeYoung.
"Policies and so on, I'll leave that to him and the cardinals to sort through all of that," DeYoung said. "But I think he just needs to be a person of strength, courage, quiet dignity and somebody who is, be willing to stand up when they need to be."
While some of the seminarians may have a favorite cardinal in mind, they said they are confident the right man for the job will be elected.
But I had to ask if they had a pool going.
"We don't here, personally," DeYoung said. "But I heard about this website where they are taking bets online now. So I don't think any of us have placed their bets, but certainly, everybody has ideas."
Of course, only the men in red behind the closed doors in Vatican City will have the final say.