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Monday night mass at Saint Peter Claver catholic church is small, but it offers the peace of mind one would need after the Pope announced his intention to resign at the end of the month.

"I'm just hearing it, and I have a broken heart," said Robert Givens after the liturgy.

"I was shocked, and at the same time, I wasn't surprised," said Gwen Roussel. "You could see him on television and hear his voice and see that he had difficulty walking."

Father Daniel Melaba addressed Pope Benedict's resignation in his homily.

"There's a sense of loss, a sense of disbelief, a sense of uncertainty," he said. "But we should come together on a day like this to pray for our Holy Father."

It's a comfort for those like Gwen Roussel who are deeply connected to the Pope.

"He loves us with a deep Christ-like love," she said. "He's our papa. He's our guide."

Brock Bingaman, religious studies professor at Wesleyan College, explains it's a hidden, almost mystical process.

"We'll see the conclave, the group of cardinals gather together and meet secretly and confer," he said. "The way that it's done, we'll look for the smoke. If black smoke emerges, it means they haven't elected someone. If a grayish smoke emerges they've got a pope selected."

Bingaman says a decision is expected by easter. And in the mean time, Roussel says the uncertainty doesn't phase her.

"The Holy Spirit has led us through the ages, and He is with us still, and He will guide the college of cardinals as they select a new pope. So I feel very positive," she said.

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