By Mike Bush
VATICAN CITY (KSDK) - The Sistine Chapel is ready. The new pope's clothes are laid out. Now it's up to the cardinals.
The work to elect a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI begins in earnest Tuesday, with a morning mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
For one St. Louisan, these are interesting times.
Patrick Dolan has been to Rome enough times that he no longer feels like a stranger, but on this trip he sure feels strange.
"I'm just kind of in shock. I don't know, I don't know how I'm feeling," he said.
Dolan, from Richmond Heights, has more than a passing interest in the papal conclave. His older brother is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.
"He will always be my brother, and his whole way through from priesthood, from ordination, monsignor, bishop, he's still my brother and even cardinal," said Patrick.
But ever since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, Cardinal Dolan has been on nearly everyone's short list to succeed him. As an American, he is still considered a long shot, but having spent many years in Rome as a seminarian, he is popular among Italians and prominent Vatican reporter recently called him the consummate candidate, something that doesn't surprise his brother.
"We've kind of known it from the get-go that he had what it takes to do it, and he's got it and he's done it and here we are," said Patrick.
Still, to even consider the possibility would be to consider future party introductions. Even now it's tough enough.
"I'll say just in conversation that my brothers a priest and someone who knows him will say 'He's not just a priest, he's about as high a priest as you can get,'" said Patrick.
Cardinal Dolan has dismissed the speculation, saying that he's anxious to get back to his archdiocese in New York, but his little brother can't help but wonder how his own life would be different having the pope as his brother.
"I'll tell you what though, if we're standing here on whatever day it might be, I hope you'll catch me. If he comes out, I may just faint," said Patrick.
In his rush to get To Rome Patrick forgot to pack a nice pair of slacks. He went out and bought some just in case.