Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope.
At Our Lady of Guadalupe, parishoners prayed Sunday that church leaders will select the right person to fill the shoes of Pope Benedict XVI who officially retired last week.
Rev. Richard Brown is the senior priest at the San Diego Jesuit parish.
“We need a pope that is holy,” Rev. Brown said. “We need a pope that will be up with the things of modern times and realize the world is changing. The world has changed a lot in the last 25 to 30 years."
Parishoner Gail Boyle agrees that the church needs a pope that understands the world Catholics actually live in.
“It’s been too long where it’s been almost medieval at times and distressing. Particularly as an American Catholic I want to see something updated,” Boyle said.
Other Catholics are hoping to see a return to the Catholic Church’s core values.
“I’m hoping for a pope that has strong convictions to traditional ways, the ways of the Catholic Church,” said parishioner Tomas Reyes.
He said he would like the Catholic Church to go back to old values because that sets a foundation for the family.
As Cardinals entered the Vatican Monday, media from all over the world captured their arrival.
The group is expected to set the date for the conclave. They’ll also begin preparations that include closing the Sistine Chapel to visitors and clearing out the Vatican hotel so it can be checked for listening devices, lest anyone try to gain access to the secret conversations of the cardinals.
Upon his arrival, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins of Portugal said what many around the world are thinking, "A Latin American Pope is possible, everything is possible!"
That is exactly what San Diego Catholic Juan Armando Chaves wants.
“I would hope to see a Latin priest be the next pope. There’s a lot of us in the community that I think would be happy as well,” said Chavez.
Of the 115 cardinals who can vote, 103 were on hand for Monday's inaugural pre-conclave meeting.
The fact that 12 more cardinals are still en route to Rome will mean a delay in setting a date for the conclave.
The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is living in Castel Gandolfo, after resigning last Thursday.