Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Mar 12 18:03:55 EDT 2013


Vatican City, 12 March 2013 (VIS) - This morning started a little later than
usual in the Vatican. At 7:00am the first faithful starting arriving at St.
Peter's on foot. The 115 Cardinal electors were already within the City
State's walls. Each one carried his small suitcase and took the functional
but austere room that had been assigned to, not chosen by, them at the Domus
Sanctae Marthae. The largest one remains vacant. The one they choose as
Pope, the 266th successor of Peter, will live and work there until the papal
apartments are made ready for him.

In St. Peter's Square, in front of the Basilica's facade, an enormous
platform has been erected for the world's major broadcasters. Permanently
accredited correspondents work from their desks within the Holy See's Press
Office in Via della Conciliazione. Nearby, another building has been wired
for all the media that is arriving for the occasion: the Media Centre, which
currently occupies the spacious lobby of the Paul VI Hall. So far, more than
5,600 journalists have been accredited for the occasion. The terrace on the
Charlemagne Wing of Bernini's colonnade around St. Peter's Square has also
been taken over by journalists. On the ground and in the most varied places
you will find many who are connected through social networks, the "digital
continent", linking the entire world. They are all focused on the spot that
Vatican Television has aimed a fixed camera at: the chimney atop the Sistine
Chapel where a black or white puff of smoke will emerge.

Precisely at 10:00am, with St. Peter's Basilica beautifully lit, the "pro
eligendo Romano Pontifice" Mass began. Presided by the Italian Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, the over one hundred
cardinals gathered concelebrated, Cardinal electors as well as those over
80, representing all of the populated continents of the globe. The
celebration was open to all the faithful who wished to attend as well as
members of the diplomatic corps of the 179 countries with which the Holy See
maintains ties. Each held the Mass booklet, either collected at the entrance
or downloaded from the Vatican website.

After the readings, the first was given in English and the second in
Spanish, Cardinal Sodano delivered his homily. It was interrupted with a
long applause when the cardinal referred to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,
thanking him for his eight years of fruitful service to the Church. Cardinal
Sodano asked the cardinals to work together to contribute to the unity of
the Church. Together with unity he spoke of charity, asking them to
"ceaselessly work to promote Justice and Peace".

The multilingual Mass also included Mass parts in Latin, and Prayers of the
Faithful in French, Swahili, Portuguese, Malay, and German. During the
offertory procession the choir sang a motet by Italian Renaissance composer
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

The ceremony concluded after an hour and a half. Outside the sun shone, it
rained, loud thunder was heard, none of which discouraged the hundreds of
persons who were following the Mass inside on the six jumbo screens
installed around the square.

At 1:30pm, the Cardinal electors ate lunch at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Already beginning now, the only people who they will have contact with are
those who will ensure their safety, domestic staff, and the minibus drivers
who will ferry them back and forth from the Sistine Chapel to the Domus.

At 3:45pm, the cardinals will return to the Apostolic Palace. They will
begin their procession to the Sistine Chapel from the Pauline Chapel singing
"Veni Creator Spiritus", invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit. They
will take the oath in which they promise to maintain the secrecy of the
proceedings. When the Master of Ceremonies pronounces the phrase "Extra
omnes" all those not taking part will leave the chapel, its doors will be
shut, and the Conclave will begin.

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