Catholics around the world celebrate new leader - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Catholics around the world celebrate new leader

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Albany - I t was unclear whether a new Pope had been elected when the smoke first appeared around 11:45 Tuesday morning. At times, the smoke appeared black, signaling a Pope had not been elected, but the crowds cheered anyway, believing themselves, the smoke was white. Then, the bells rang.

Students at St. Teresa's Catholic school have been studying the process of conclave and know just how important it is that a new Pope was quickly chosen. "Well the Pope is the head of the Catholic church and not having a Pope is very difficult to run,"says Brandon Bracy.

Students and teachers watched the announcement of the new Pope on TV. Principal Grace Ledwitch says, "When they did announce it, we were very excited for head of our Catholic Church. The students were also excited, they were watching TV in our media center and we're relieved that we do have a Pope and it didn't take that long."

And Priest Barry Stanton says the fact that the Conclave was short, proves the College of Cardinals is eager to get back to work. He says, "It's a great relief to know that the work of the church goes on, the Gospel is to be preached, and we just can't sit around waiting in a vacuum. The work goes on."

Work similar to what Pope John Paul II was doing. Pope Benedict XVI studied under him. Stanton says, "By their choice they are signaling they want continuity, most of all they want continuity. They don't want any huge surprises, but they want continuity." And now, the Catholic church and the rest of the world waits to see what kind of leader Pope Benedict will be.

Father Stanton says, "We shall look forward to what he has to say to the world and how he interacts with the world and how he deals with the problems of he world and how he will just make a huge difference in the quality of life for all of us." Especially the life of the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, Benedict starts his first full day as Pontiff by presiding over a Mass in the Sistine chapel. He'll be formally installed as the 265th Pope Sunday morning.

posted by karen.collier@walb.com