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D.C. Area Catholics Pray For Election Of New Pope

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The faithful were present in the early morning hours at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C.
Armando Trull
The faithful were present in the early morning hours at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C.

The attention of more than a billion Catholics around the world is centered on the Vatican today as the conclave gets underway to select the next Pope. Catholics in Washington say they're praying for the cardinals who are making that choice.

At the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C., the faithful will have the conclave on their minds today.

"All of our masses today are going to be specifically for the intention of the election of the new holy father — the Pope," says Jackie Hayes, Director of Communications for the basilica. "So all the faithful will be gathered here for our six masses starting at 7 a.m. this morning all the way through our 5:15 p.m. mass this evening."

The first vote by the 115 Catholic cardinals will come Tuesday afternoon, but it's expected to be at least several days before a candidate receives the required two-thirds vote.

While the cardinals confer and build towards a consensus, District Catholics will be directing their energies towards the Vatican.

"The readings will be the same, however, the prayers are specific to the election of the new Pope," Hayes says. "So it will bring everyone together to prayer for our cardinals who will be selecting our new holy father."

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