Americans in Rome hoping for U.S.- born Pope -

Americans in Rome hoping for U.S.- born Pope

( -- The first vote of the Papal Conclave ended with thick black smoke pouring from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday.

The smoke signified no vote on who will replace Benedict the 16th as pope.

There are three voting cardinals with St. Louis ties: Ballwin native Timothy Dolan, and former St. Louis Archbishops Justin Rigali and Raymond Burke.

Click here to follow Chris Nagus' coverage of the conclave in Rome

The cardinals are not talking, but there is a lot of speculation that a decision will happen soon.

Many Americans in Rome are on standby waiting for white smoke.

“Easter is coming up I hope they can make a decision,” said Meghan Rogers, a catholic school teacher from Texas.

Rogers and her husband planned their trip to Rome months ago, but now find themselves in the middle of the biggest watch party in the world.

“It’s absolutely surreal, absolutely,” she said.

From the square at St. Peters, thousands watched mass in Italian, as the cardinals asked the Holy Spirit for guidance to help them pick the next pope.

Pouring rain sent some running for shelter while others stayed to pray. As mass ended storm clouds passed, and cardinals were swarmed like rock stars as they headed to lunch.

Tourists like the Rogers wonder if the next pope will be American. They say their cardinal, cardinal Dinardo of the Galveston/Houston archdiocese says it won’t be him.

“Denardo said his chances are 1 in 115,” said Rogers. “So better than Powerball.”

The cardinals are done voting for Tuesday, and what happened inside the Sistine Chapel is a secret. There are 90 staff members that assist the cardinals while in conclave. All housekeepers, cooks and doctors have been sworn to secrecy.

Voting will continue Wednesday.

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