Feb 22, 2013 12:58 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucson family reflects on relative's potential papal candidacy

TUCSON - As Pope Benedict prepares to step down next week, the search for a new leader for the Catholic Church quickly approaches, a Tucson family has high hopes for a relative who could be a Papal candidate.

Cardinal John Onaiyekan was born and raised in Nigeria. He was made a Cardinal back in November 2012 while the upcoming conclave will be the first Pope selection he's participated in.

News 4 Tucson sat down with Cardinal Onaiyekan's brother Michael who lives in Tucson with his family about his thoughts on potentially having a Pope in the family.

While the Catholic Church may know him as Cardinal Onaiyekan, Michael has another name for name for him: brother.

"Him being a Pope, I don't know," Michael told News 4 Tucson, pausing briefly betwen his words, adding: "But like I said, the Holy Spirit will take charge."

The family grew up in humble beginnings, in a small village in Nigeria. Their father was a farmer but Michael said he also taugh him and John about the importance of faith.

John's middle name translates as "God loves me", Michael explained.

"So his whole life has always been that of somebody who God loves," Michael said.

However, he admit that having a brother move up the ranks of the church has its perks.

"That was when I had the opportunity of having a handshake with the Pope," Michael said while showing off a video clip of the encounter. "I said the hand is still fresh every time," he joked.

As the news of Pope Benedict stepping down shocked the world, Michael is paying close attention as the church is poised to select a new leader.

"I've been following it, but more especially I've been following it with prayers," Michael said.

Now, he can only imagine how the Catholic World preps for what comes next.

"I think almost every Cardinal now ill be anxious... I'm very sure and that's why we're praying for them," Michael said.


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