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The conclave begins today.

The waiting reminds me of the waiting for the announcement of the birth of a baby. We already know one significant detail – It’s a Boy! – but we have no idea of the size or the name of this person – let alone the details of his personality or what place he will eventually hold in the history of the Church. And we don’t know how swift or drawn-out the cardinals’ labor to produce him might be – let alone how many of them will be craving narcotics to take the edge off by the end!

We, in the waiting room of the world, are armed with our conclave reading and have our eyes trained on [live video feeds of] the Sistine Chapel chimney – let the waiting begin!

The Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff is at 10am (Rome time; 5am EST) in St. Peter’s Basilica, and if you want to follow along and practice your Latin, Italian, and Gregorian chant (English translations provided), you can download a PDF of the worship aid that the Vatican is providing for the Mass.

Here’s a helpful timetable for Tuesday and Wednesday of the conclave itself (assuming, of course, that Tuesday’s voting is not definitive).

The procession and entrance into the Sistine Chapel for the conclave is at 4:30pm (Rome time; 11:30am EST). A PDF with the Litany of Saints, the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, and the prayers and Extra omnes! proclamation may be downloaded from the Vatican website.

A video feed is available through the Vatican – especially for those who’d like to skip news commentary. And here’s another link to a live feed of St. Peter’s Square and the chimney.

Finally, a helpful post on how to interpret the Habemus Papam! (“We have a pope!” announcement when it comes – which post also happens to have videos of the election announcements of all of the popes of the 20th century. Another way to pass the time…

In the midst of this, let us not forget to pray for and along with the cardinals and our future pope!

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and enkindle within them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit
and they shall be created,
and You shall renew the face of the earth.

Oh God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
grant that, by that same Spirit
we may be made truly wise,
and ever rejoice in His consolation,
through Christ Our Lord. Amen