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The election of the pope has drawn all eyes to Rome as 115 cardinals walk into the Sistine Chapel Tuesday shouldering the responsibility of choosing a new leader for the Catholic Church.
Seventy-seven cardinals must agree for one of them to emerge as the new pope. They will vote for the first time around 1 p.m. Chicago time, and Vatican watchers just need to look to the sky for results.
White smoke from the papal chimney means the cardinals have reached a two-thirds majority. Black smoke means they're still deciding.
Three North American cardinals have emerged as possible candidates for pope. Two share Midwestern roots.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is from St. Louis and is known for his charisma and conservative values. Boston Cardinal Marc Ouellet, from Ohio, speaks four languages and became a cardinal under Pope John Paul II.
At Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, hundreds of parishioners offered prayers Monday night for the cardinals in Rome. Cook and Lake counties are home to more than two million Catholics.
They said they are praying for wisdom, guidance and holiness for Chicago's Cardinal Francis George and the other cardinals as the conclave to pick a new pope begins.
A month after Holy Name parishioners expressed shock over Pope Benedict XVI's retirement, they said this week they're focused on the future of the church. Some are looking for major change, and one person said he hopes the church will allow priests to marry.
"The only thing I would think is if the priests would be allowed to get married because of the problems they have faced over the last couple decades," Mark Gembara said.
The priest leading Tuesday morning's Holy Name mass said the cardinals are turning to the Holy Spirit to make the big decision and the new pope will be "sent to us by God."