Among the professional Catholic community, feelings are mixed over who should be the next pontiff as well as what his exact role should be.
Some clergy believe the church is at an important crossroads.
“I hope from the new pope to continue the path that Pope Benedict started and to have peace in our country, Syria,” said priest Aram Sadou.
Another priest told euronews he hopes the next pope is Asian but believes there little chance: “It will probably be an European because the world still wants an European pope,” said a Japanese priest.
One sister added: “I only expect that the man that will come will be the one that God wants and not the one that the Cardinals want. The one that God wants.”
A pope who can lead the Catholic church out its malaise is all another nun wished for: “It won’t be an easy way to go for the new pope because we’re not in an easy moment. The Church is not living a moment of peace and serenity.”
Euronews correspondent in the Eternal City, Manuela Scarpellini, said there is agreement over one thing – wishing the pope a fond farewell. “The entire Catholic community here has come to embrace the pope on his retirement and express their wish that his successor will take the Catholic Church out of its crisis,” she said.