Eastern Iowa's Faithful Wait for Word from The Vatican

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

Faithful gather to listen to pope Benedict XVI's Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI blessed the faithful from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square for the first time since announcing his resignation, cheered by an emotional crowd of tens of thousands of well-wishers from around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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By Jay Knoll

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Eastern Iowa's faithful continue services as normal as uncertainty looms over who will be the next leader.

Sounds of sweet music filled the air at ten o'clock mass at Saint Pius the Tenth Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids Sunday morning. Less than a week after Pope Benedict announced his pending retirement.

“Probably all sorts of feelings, a sense of wonder, all sorts of questions like why did he do it? Why did he do it at this time?” said Saint Pius X Catholic Church Father Philip Thompson.

Some unanswered questions, but not enough to cause panic. Leon and Jane Roterine admire the Pope for his honesty.

He could be an example for many of our leaders who hang on to the power and the job way beyond what they're really capable of,” said Jane Roterine.

“I’m hoping that it will be a precedent that it will encourage popes in the future that if they begin to see that they can't do the job anymore that they would be willing to step down,” said Leon Roterine.

While the cardinals figure things out at the Vatican, here in Eastern Iowa, Father Philip Thompson says parishioners will only notice a slight change.

“Once the pope is actually retired at this month, we will no longer mention his name into our prayers and then when the new pope is elected we will insert his name into our prayer,” said Father Thompson.

But after two thousand years, the faithful will continue even with a new leader at the helm.

The Vatican will summon the Catholic cardinals in the beginning of March. From there the cardinals will vote in secret in the Sistine Chapel. A two-thirds majority is required. The ballots will be burned after each round of voting with the smoke rising out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

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