Houston-area Catholics bid farewell to pope

HOUSTON - Catholics around the world dedicated part of their day to prayer and service as Pope Benedict XVI made his final farewell.

Many of the thousands of Catholics in the Houston area also paid tribute.

For many local Catholics, the future of the church and who will be the next pope is what they're praying about.

There are more than one million Catholics in the Houston area alone. Many of them closely watched the Pope's final farewell on Thursday.

"It's definitely a land mark that we are going to be seeing a new pope," said Vincent Perez. "I'm really excited."

As Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down Thursday, many are spending the day in prayer.

"I think Pope Benedict XVI has done a great job," said Perez.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was at The Vatican spoke with the Pope Thursday morning.

"It's certainly different for us. We didn't have a cardinal when the last pope was elected," said Father Anthony Giampietro of St. Thomas University. "So this is the first time Houston was sent to the 117 electors to Rome. So that in itself is an exciting thing."

Church leaders said even though it's impossible to predict who will be the next pope, younger Catholics hope it's someone who can relate to them.

"I think we are the next generation," said Alex Carrejo. "We are going to take over the church one day, and in order for us to do a good job, they need to continue to teach and evangelize."

The next pope is expected to be in place by Easter.

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