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Local Catholic Leaders Anxiously Await Appointment of New Pope

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Catholic leaders of the Diocese of Buffalo will be waiting word from the Vatican as the Cardinals began meeting Monday to choose the next Pope. Buffalo Bishop Edward Kmiec says it is a process the church believes falls in the hands of God.

Bishop Kmiec says Catholics will have to "trust" the Cardinals as they work to select a new church leader -- a man who will become the next "Holy Father." But as many Catholics and others world-wide question who will be able to continue the work carried out by Pope John Paul, II, Kmiec says the church believes the Holy Spirit is the real guide in this election process.

"The Lord will provide. That is always a promise that is given to the Church. We believe in that and I believe in that," Kmiec said. "Somehow, the right man will be chosen despite what ever people say about politicking. Whatever way it turns out, he will be the man that God will want in place."

Bishop Kmiec says no matter who is named the next Pope, it will be an incredible moment for the new leader.

"When word finally comes that you are the one, all the Cardinals drop these canopies that hang above them and they drop them down indicating a new Pope. I sure that must be overpowering," Kmiec said. "You have to put yourself totally in the hands of God. This is going to be God's work. You have to have faith in the Holy Spirit."

Kmiec says the next Pope must "simply" try to use his skills and gifts to carry out the mission of the Roman Catholic Church.