Area Catholics are coming together in prayer for the future of their church.
On Monday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the noon mass included special words of hope on this eve of the beginning of the conclave.
On the minds of many, the type of pope they would like to see elected.
"I'd like to see a more vibrant pope," said one. "Someone like Pope John Paul the Second that was such an inspiration to the world."
The priest sexual abuse scandal has some Catholics urging that a leader be chosen who can address the controversy head on.
Catholic University's Father Mark Morozowich agrees.
"This Pope has to be working very closely with each church, with each diocese with each area with each region," Morozowich says, "so that we can deal with and we can add healing and provide justice where justice is due."
The resignation of Pope Benedict has many Catholics considering a leader's age.
Some see this as an opportunity for a younger pope to be named as a long term leader of the church.
"In this day and age we're in today we need somebody who has a lot of vim, vigor and vitality to carry out the needs of the church," says Catholic John Smeeton.