MIAMI -

Catholics throughout South Florida await the election of their new leader as the cardinals went into the Sistine Chapel, where they will take part in the secret election of a new pope.

Students and faculty members at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School held a special mass Tuesday to pray for the cardinals.

"This is monumental," said senior Eric Couto. "Coming here and watching them over the television and praying together as a community is really impactful."

"It's kind of a shock to us," said senior Oscar Cabanas. "It's not every day that the pope retires."

Deacon Robert O'Malley is the first cousin of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston.

"We email him but all communication is cut off at this point," said Robert O'Malley. "They all feel this awesome responsibility of making sure the vote that they make is in accordance of the Holy Spirit and God's will."

READ: Cardinals take social media vacation

"We hope that they make the decision quickly and they make the right decision," added Cabanas.

Top Papal contenders

Published On: Mar 11 2013 11:42:46 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 13 2013 01:17:12 PM EDT
Cardinals gather to elect new pope after Benedict XVI's resignation

From the internet savvy to the strictest conservative ... here are the front runners for the top job in the Catholic Church.

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Angelo Cardinal Scola is seen as Italy's best chance at reclaiming the papacy. To read more, click here.