Hoosier to play key role as conclave gets ready to pick new pope

Tony Hollowell was an altar boy at Nativity Catholic Church in Wanamaker, played football at Roncalli High School, graduated from Notre Dame and Tuesday morning he will play a pivotal role in the pre-conclave mass attended by cardinals from all over the world as the Catholic Church meets to select its new leader.

“His job will be to proclaim the word of God from the book of Isaiah,” said Joseph Hollowell, his father and the president of Roncalli High School. “To do it well and to do it in feeling and do it in English, so, he’s excited about it and hopes to do it well, I know that.”

Hollowell is a seminarian–a priest in training–at the Vatican and expects to be ordained in 2016.

Two weeks ago, as the church began planning for the conclave to pick the new pope, Hollowell was informed he would perform the first reading during Mass.

“It seems like it’s a very fitting reading for the picking of the next leader of the church,” said his father. “It is the beginning of a mission. The same reading that Jesus used that started his public ministry and it does seem it’s very fitting for the beginning of the conclave to reflect on that.”

“The spirit of the Lord has been given me for the Lord has anointed me,” reads Isaiah chapter 61.

“You will be named priests of the Lord, they will call you ministers of our God,” the chapter continues. “All who see them will admit that they are a race whom the Lord has blessed.”

Hollowell said his son was speechless when asked to explain how he was chosen for this pivotal role.

“There was a lot of almost incredulous response… that he was having a hard time fathoming why he may have been chosen.

“He has done some public speaking before in front of large crowds,” Hollowell said. “Certainly nothing of the magnitude that this is destined to be and be televised around the world.”

The Mass begins at 5 a.m., Indianapolis time, Tuesday and can be viewed on EWTN, the Catholic Church’s cable network.

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