Cardinals prepare for Tuesday 12 March Conclave


Conclave News Story
The cardinals praying at St Peter's on 6 March.The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday 12 March. Photo: Intermirifica

Originally published by the Sydney Archdiocese

By Katrina Lee, Catholic Communications

Cardinals celebrated Mass in their titular churches in Rome on Sunday as preparations continued for their arrival in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to begin the Conclave and the election of the new pope.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell celebrated Mass at Parrocchia di Santa Maria Domenica Mozzarello towards the outskirts of Rome where he met and chatted with many of the local parishioners. Meantime preparations are continuing in the Sistine Chapel for Tuesday when the 115 Cardinals or electors will arrive to begin the Conclave.

The Cardinals will arrive early Tuesday at Domus Sanctae Marthae, their residence inside the Vatican walls for the duration of the Conclave. They will celebrate Mass and at 3.45pm at the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace. At 4.30pm they will process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel which will take around a hour.

After taking an oath the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations will give the order "Extra omens" for all those not taking part in the Conclave to leave the Sistine Chapel. This will be those Cardinals, thirty eight of them, who because of age are not eligible to vote.

The Cardinals will then listen to a meditation on the importance of their forthcoming responsibilities after which they will make the first vote. Then at 7pm they will pray Vespers before returning to their residence.

On Wednesday they will celebrate Mass before returning to the Sistine Chapel for voting. There are two ballots in the morning and afternoon.

The "fumata" - the smoke signalling the election or non-election of a pope that is produced for the burning of the ballots - could be expected around 12noon following the morning session or 7pm in the case of the evening.

If there is no decision after the third day the Cardinals will break and have a one day retreat before returning to the chapel.

In the Sistine Chapel workmen have been building a false floor over the uneven mosaic floor and the 115 cherry wood chairs are being put in place, each engraved with the name of the Cardinal who will occupy it.

The chimneys have been installed and tested. Chemicals will be added to produce the black or white smoke - black for no result and white for a positive result to announce the new pope.

Millions of people around the world will be focused on the chimney for the puff of white smoke and to hear the bells chime when the vote has been concluded and the new pope has been elected by a minimum of two thirds or 77 votes.

While thousands will gather in St Peter's Square, the new Pope will officially accept the position, be vested, greet his Cardinals as Pope for the first time and go to the balcony. This will take around 45 minutes.

The Cardinals will stand behind the Pope and a new era in the Church will begin.

Many in Rome hope there will be a number of new appointments to address a wide range of issues, for example Secretary of State.

Some here hope this role will be announced within 24 hours of the Pope's election. Other roles may not be so quick.

After all, this is not called the Eternal City for nothing.

Tags: Catholic Communications   Conclave   Pontiff

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