In less than 24 hours, the 115 eligible Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church will be in place to take part in the centuries old ritual of electing the next spiritual leader for the more than one billion Catholic's across the world.
Father Peter Mangum with the Cathedral of St. John Berchman's and former Loyola Prep student Carter Boyd are two of Shreveport's very own that will get to see the sights and sounds up close when the Pope Conclave begins Tuesday.
Bishop Michael Duca with the Diocese of Shreveport says on the eve of the Conclave, the choice for who will slide into the seat once filled by Pope Benedict is still up in the air.
"You never really know what the outcome is going to be, right now a lot of people are taking a guess at who the new pope will be," said Duca.
While every Catholic's expectations are different for what they want to see out of the next Pope, Duca says there is an every consensus of what the next Pope must possess.
"Every Catholic knows that the Pope is really the one that works under the guidance hopefully of the holy spirit, and we just pray that we will find some man who will lead the church as God wants the church to be led," said Duca.
Once all the votes are cast, the ballots are tallied and the results are read aloud. More than a two-thirds majority is needed to declare a winner -- in this case 77-votes.
If there is no winner there's another vote. If there is still no winner, two more votes are scheduled for the afternoon. Voting continues up to four ballots each day until there's a winner.
If there's no winner, they're burned with a chemical that gives off black smoke. This tells the crowd waiting in St. Peter's square that a new pope has not yet been selected.
When there is a winner the ballots are burned alone, giving off white smoke, which is a sign from the Cardinals that they have chosen a new Pope to lead the church.
Both Mangum and Boyd are expected to be in Rome until Saturday. Bishop Duca believes by than, the selection of a new Pope will have been made.