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Saratoga County

Papal candidate linked to Capital Region

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Albany/HV: Papal candidate linked to Capital Region
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Now that Pope Benedict has sped up the timeline for when Cardinals will meet at the Vatican to choose his replacement, speculation begins to mount about who that person will be. Our Solomon Syed tells us about one candidate who has strong ties to the Capital Region.

RENSSELAER, N.Y. -- Today, the old Beverwyck Manor is a group home for retired priests and friars. But for more than 75 years, it housed St. Anthony's on the Hudson, one of America's leading theological seminaries. And one of its star students may soon be known to the rest of the world as "Holy Father."

"Having the connection, between St. Anthony's, the conventuals, and he, and Cardinal Turkson, who studied here from 1971 to '75," said Father Justin Biase, Conventual Franciscan Friars Minister Provincial.

That's Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, West Africa, who's considered a prime contender to become the next pope.

Father Justin Biase, now the provincial of the Franciscan Friars community, is a fellow graduate of St. Anthony's.

"He's very easy to be with, very much so. I mean, he's a Cardinal, but once he's with people, he just engages people, and people feel very engaged with him," said Father Biase.

Father Biase also had a recent engagement with the Pope, gaining an audience with the Bishop of Rome just one day before his stunning announcement.

"We had front row seats, but it was very noticeable how frail he was. But no, he gave no indication whatsoever,” said Father Biase.

So if Cardinal Turkson is elected Pope, can we expect him to come back and visit the Capital Region? Well, we don't know his travel plans, but Father Biase says the Cardinal has remained true to his roots.

"He's been here for a couple of fundraisers, I know he was at Siena last year, and down in Newburgh," said Father Biase."More of theology is about internalizing and growing in the appreciation of who Christ is, and to think that part of that was formed here? Of course, we'd all be very proud of that!” ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP