JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The 115 Cardinals in the Catholic Church closed themselves inside the Sistine Chapel to begin the process of electing a new Pope.
The conclave is set to begin around noon and if the past few conclaves are any indication, a new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics could be in place by the weekend.
Catholics in our area are watching intently, but local leaders of the faithful say any change from a new pope will not come overnight.
"If the pope institutes some new methods of organizing parishes or certain doctrines then gradually it will change the church," said Monsignor Vincent Haut of Blesses Trinity Catholic Church on the Southside.
The Vatican staff has been sworn to secrecy. They are not allowed to reveal anything they overhear the leaders discussing. Cell phone scrambling technology has also been employed to ensure nothing is leaked from the highly secretive meeting.
Meanwhile the speculation over who will become the next leader of the church continues to mount. "I think the cardinals are certainly look for a pope who either has strong management and administrative skills or can delegate them and follow them closely," said Father Robert Dodaro, CBS News Vatican Consultant.
The Cardinals are expected to begin the first vote shortly before Noon Eastern Time.