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placeholder March 18, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA

Students wait to cast their votes in the mock conclave in the chapel at St. Patrick's Seminary.
josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice

Diocesan students film mock papal conclave

"Is anybody nervous?" asked Anne Comiskey, teacher for the day. "Good," she said, as a few hands moved tentatively into the air. "I thought I was the only one."

Conclave 2013

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Vatican Information Service
That's how the veteran religion education teacher put a dozen "cardinals" at ease on March 5 before the taping of "What Is a Conclave?" The program, a rare opportunity to tape a program at the Menlo Park studio of Catholic Telemedia Network, was made available to Catholic school classrooms in the Diocese of Oakland, Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of San Jose. It is also available on YouTube.

The dozen sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from the four Catholic elementary schools in Hayward — All Saints, St. Bede, St. Clement and St. Joachim — had prepared well for their close-up.

The six boys and six girls had been asked to choose two cardinals who might draw interest at the upcoming conclave. During the taping of the program, each presented one candidate.

Comiskey was assisted by Cindy Polizzi, the kindergarten teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School in Martinez. Steve Mullin, parish life director at All Saints, was pressed into service as operator of the second studio camera.

Father Robert Herbst, OFM Conv., judicial vicar for the Diocese of Oakland, led a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide the cardinals' work.

Nathaniel Wong of St. Joachim School presented Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. Cardinal Tagle's youth, openness and Third World experience could help the Church, Nathaniel said.

Temoc Gonzalez of St. Clement School offered Cardinal Angelo Scola of Italy, as "highly esteemed" by the pope emeritus, as well as a supporter of the New Evangelization and Catholic-Islamic dialogue.

"He's really open to new ideas, which would be good for the church," Samira Navarro, of St. Joachim School, said of Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

Marissa Lopez, of St. Clement School, was touched by the story of Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who at 13 decided to become a Franciscan. She learned his favorite quote from the Bible, "May it be done to me, according to your word," says "a lot about his character. He will accept anything God gives him and take it as a blessing."

Jahn Collado, of St. Bede School, also liked Cardinal Tagle. "He wants power for the Church not for himself," Jahn said.

Leilani Mayer, also of St. Bede School, noted the level of education — five colleges on his resume—of Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France.

Kadija Samura, of All Saints School, also went with Scola, describing him as well-placed to address the challenges of the West — "mostly materialism" — and "taking good care of the church as God wants us to."

Evan Mao, of All Saints School, was impressed by a TV appearance by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and listed his experiences.

Juliana LaChica, of St. Clement School, noted Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto's dedication to the priesthood from an early age.

Nicholas Mullin, of St. Joachim School, cited Cardinal Tagle's youth. "He can serve longer," he said, "so we won't have to have another conclave so soon."

Cassie Vonnegut, of All Saints School, looked beyond the Vatican to suggest Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. Her research revealed a fact that appealed to her: He lives in an apartment and cooks his own meals. "He lives a normal simple life," she said.

Emiliano Eugencio, of St. Bede School, noted that the death of the young brother of Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco might motivate him to "choose for causes that help people to get better."

The young people narrowed their field to five — Cardinals Tagle, Scola, Collins, Bergolio and Turkson — before moving to the "Sistine Chapel" for a vote.

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