HOUSTON -- One of the voices debating the selection of the next pope is from right here in Houston.
Cardinal Daniel Dinardo will not just be in the room when the next pope is chosen, he will be locked in to vote.
"It will be an awesome moment and a moment of intense responsibility. I think that is when I will really sense it," DInardo said.
The days leading up to Dinardo's departure to Rome are a whirlwind unlike anything he has experienced in his six years as a cardinal of the Catholic Church.
What those days lead too is unimaginable.
“I do believe when you are in the procession walking into the Sistine Chapel is when it will hit," said Dinardo.
One hundred seventeen men will choose the next pope in the most unusual circumstance in centuries.
Cardinal Dinardo will go to Rome next week, but what happens when he gets there is still unclear.
There’s no question though what he is looking for.
"We want to select a pope of some stamina and physical strength because it is just the nature of the office of Peter and the Church now," says Dinardo.
The modern pope is part spiritual leader, but all globe trotter.
For this conclave there are a record nine American Cardinals, but all of them have long odds to be the next pope.
"The perception among some that the Pope would somehow not be free, but would somehow be tied to the American administration because he is a United States citizen," says Dinardo.
Just that perception is a problem, according to the Cardinal.
He says he has no favorites yet, but knows for certain what he wants to hear from the next pope.
"The Church does not have a mission; the Church is the mission. That is to my mind what he has to say when he gets on the balcony," said Dinardo.