By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — As the cardinal electors in Rome closed the doors of the Sistine Chapel in Rome today to begin their work, prayers were being offered on their behalf by Catholics around the world.

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But can events 4,000 miles away affect the Diocese of Trenton? Absolutely, in the eyes of Bishop David O’Connell, who held a special mass today at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, where some 300 people turned out.

Bishop O’Connell says each new pope extends a line of succession dating back to the establishment of the church itself.

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“The grace of Christ stretches over the centuries to lift up a man to lead us, to teach us, to guide us, to help make us holy,” he told congregants today.

O’Connell does not think the conclave will last all that long.  In addition, he thinks the decision on the next pontiff won’t be made based on geography or politics, but rather what that man brings to the church and its efforts toward evangelization.

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