Md. students paying close attention to selection of new pope - New York News

Md. Catholic school students paying close attention to selection of new pope

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BETHESDA, Md. -

When teacher David Long asks a question, the hands of fifth graders shoot into the air. This is a topic that intrigues them.

"I've never experienced having a pope that didn't die," says student Lauren Pels. "He's resigning. That hasn't happened in a very long time. It's unusual. It's a great opportunity to witness this."

The students at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Bethesda are watching closely as cardinals select a new pope. Right now, what they are learning in their lessons makes the nightly news.

The kids can tell you what started the papal name change.

"About the 15th pope - I believe it was - changed his name because it was Mercury. He thought it would be bad to be the leader of a Christian church if he had the name of a Roman god," explains Finn Anderson.

There is another reason these kids will be watching closely. You see, they have each adopted one cardinal. If their particular cardinal is elected pope, that student has no written homework for the rest of the year. You can bet they will be praying for a win.

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