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Cardinal-Designate Edwin O'Brien Talks To Essex School Students Day Before Vatican Ceremony

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- This Saturday, Baltimore's own Archbishop Edwin O'Brien will be elevated to cardinal. All this week, direct from Rome, the Catholic Review is sharing its coverage with WJZ.

Mary Bubala has more on how he is preparing for the holy honor.

Excitement is building at the Vatican now just hours away from the ceremony.

Twenty-two archbishops hand-picked by the pope will rise to the position of cardinal, including Baltimore's own Edwin O'Brien. Like the pope, he's conservative on matters like birth control and same-sex marriage, so the pope puts a stamp on the future of the Catholic Church by choosing men who share his views.

"I have more responsibilities now, and I'll take those responsibilities very seriously to serve the needs and the purposes of the Holy Father and the church universal," O'Brien said.

An order of Catholic nuns from Catonsville will witness the archbishop's elevation on Saturday. The Catholic Review is with them in Rome.

"The sisters often spoke of the spiritual journey to Rome, but this week they made the physical journey here, and for many of them it's a dream come true," said George Matysek of the Catholic Review.

"The archbishop has been so good to us, and he is such a special person to all of us and this big house is no longer someone else's house. It's our house," Sister Margaret Muraki of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor said.

The Vatican is a world away from Baltimore-- some 4,000 miles. But technology creates an instant link to this ancient city for students at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Essex.

The students Skyped with Cardinal-designate O'Brien Friday morning, asking him questions including how the weather was in Italy.

"It gets up to 50s during the day and very sunny," O'Brien replied. "So it's very nice, even though it is the middle of winter here."

All these students are usually in uniform. But Friday, they were allowed to wear red in honor of the color of the cardinal.

"It's really exciting because I have never witnessed anything like this," Mt. Carmel second-grader LeeAnn Daiker said.

After he spoke with the students, O'Brien joined the other candidates in a private meeting with Pope Benedict. On Monday, the nuns from Catonsville and others from Baltimore will be part of a papal audience at the Vatican.

If you'd like to hear more about the elevation, click on this link to the Catholic Review.

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