MINNEAPOLIS - With five cardinals in the running to succeed Pope Benedict after he resigns at the end of the month, Catholics in the Twin Cities are pondering the next generation of the Catholic Church.
Monday night, dozens of Catholic students at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Memorial Union attended a faith based seminar on dating and relationships, but conversations also turned to a changing relationship with the church, when the surprise resignation reached many Monday morning.
"I woke, and my roommate got a text and was like dude, Pope Benedict is resigning, my first reaction was can the pope resign? Is this true?" said Ben Huntley, a U of M student and a member of St Paul's Outreach, a campus group aiming to connect college Catholics to their faith.
Some of the students said they hoping for someone who connects with young followers, while maintaining traditional values. Huntley said he hopes for a Pope that can further unite Catholics with Protestants.
Fellow St. Paul's outreach member Teresa Hayes, a U of M senior, said she hopes the succeeding pope brings zeal to a younger generation of Catholic followers.
At the Saint Paul Cathedral, others leaving evening mass prayed for tradition.
"I love Pope Benedict. I adored blessed John Paul and I am hoping for the same to continue," said Angela Beljeski of Ham Lake. "I trust that God will bring a wonderful pope to us in all of this."
"The hope for me is the Pope would remain true to the church's teachings and kind of seek wisdom especially through prayer," said Bob Benson, a U of M student also part of St. Paul's Outreach.
His fellow St. Paul's Outreach students listened to a seminar focusing on finding the right lifelong relationships and many attending say want the next pope to share a message of love.
"I think a Pope that brings a message of hope and mercy and Christ to the world is huge," said Shelley Pavlan.
There are an estimated 1.1 million Catholics in the state of Minnesota. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis counts about 825,000 Catholics in a 12-county area.
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