VATICAN CITY -

Once the papal conclave begins, all eyes will be focused on a small smoke stack above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

They will watch the plumes of smoke up to four times a day on television. Papal ballots will go up in smoke -- black for failure, white for success.

After the first Papal resignation in 600 years, the cardinals who will cast these ballots are under enormous pressure to elect a superstar.

Even before those ballots go up in smoke, Houstonians like Jonathan Urick are in Italy to be part of history, knowing one of their own, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, will be among those voting.

"It'll be interesting to see if our cardinal gets the vote. And even if he doesn't, it'll be interesting to see who he helps to elect," Urick said.

Adding to the anticipation, DiNardo and his fellow cardinals have yet to decide when to begin the conclave that will produce a new pope. That decision in itself is creating a mini drama, leading up to the main event.