Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
North Texas Catholics are watching the chimney at the Sistine Chapel closely awaiting word that a new pope has been selected at the Vatican.
North Texas Catholics are closely watching Vatican City awaiting the selection of a new pope.
It's the first sign Catholics around the world have been waiting for, smoke. But on Tuesday, no new pontiff was selected as black smoke arose from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel on the first day of the conclave.
Some North Texas Catholics said, as they left noon mass, they're eagerly anticipating who will be named the next leader of the church.
"We pray for the cardinals, who are voting today in the conclave for our next Holy Father," said Father Mike Moloney during the afternoon mass.
From that prayer at St. Patrick's Cathedral in downtown Fort Worth to the first puff of smoke, Catholics are keeping a watchful eye.
"Absolutely, I've been watching it every day for the last couple of weeks," Father Moloney said.
Father Moloney says attendance at this afternoon's mass was up 25 percent from a typical mid-week, mid-day gathering.
"Today we had more people turn out because today is the beginning of the voting," Father Moloney said. "But I would say that we've all been praying for a couple of weeks and I would say that this is a wonderful thing in fact that we've had this time to actually pray about this, so that we all feel like we're part of it."
For those attending the service, they do have some preferences for the next pope.
"I'm curious who they're going to get," said Rita Corona Rainbolt. "My thoughts are they need to get a Pope that's a little younger, so that he can stay in there for a long time.”
Father Moloney doesn't have a favorite, but is confident the new pope will be the best choice for the church.
"The church is faced with many challenges," said Father Moloney. "And it really does take those with more knowledge to really, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to narrow it down to a few. And there's a good few who are qualified for this time."
Father Moloney is hopeful that as the conclave continues, more Catholics will come to mass to be a part of history as the church continues to watch and pray.