Festive crowds brave rain in St. Peter’s Square; Papal conclave schedule

Nuns on St. Peter's Square. Credit: MWN
Nuns on St. Peter’s Square.
Credit: MWN

Who said the Roman Catholic Church is in trouble? This morning at 9am, crowds had already braved steady rain to gather at St. Peter’s Square – even though white smoke wasn’t expected that morning, or on Wednesday at all. By 11:30, thousands were there, in the rain: young priests, young nuns, along with faithful from all over the world. A group of Swedish teenagers diligently watched the jumbotron showing the Sistine Chapel’s chimney.

“Our generation grew up with only one Pope, so the election of a new Pope is huge for us”, explained Fr. Diego Berrio, a young priest from Colombia, as we met on St. Peter’s Square. “When Benedict XVI was elected, the outcome was very clear. He was the frontrunner, and with good reason. This time it’s different because there’s no frontrunner. I was here for the first round of voting [on Tuesday night] and was really excited and nervous, even though I knew the election wouldn’t be decided then.”

One young German civil servant had taken vacation days as soon as Benedict announced his resignation – just to be here. “We Germans never appreciated him as much as people in other countries did”, he said. “It’s as we never want one of our own to succeed.”

Like him, thousands of people have taken time off from work to watch this election – all the more remarkable given that they don’t have an input in it. “It’s a choice between a Pope like John Paul II and Benedict XVI or someone quite different”, said Fr. Leonard Altilia, a Jesuit priest from Toronto who’s currently teaching in Rome. “Benedict’s resignation, which he announced without any advance warning, was a brilliant move. It was a clean cut and didn’t allow any internal manoeuvring. So now we have an open field.” Then Fr. Altilia took a break to explain to a group of American teenagers when they might expect white smoke.

Indeed, despite the rain and the long wait – which is expected to continue for days – the mood on St. Peter’s was upbeat, festive even. “You need tranquillity when you elect a new Pope”, reflected Sister Epiphania, a young nun from Nigeria. “If there’s black smoke I’ll be back in the afternoon. We just have to wait for the Holy Spirit.”

If the Holy Spirit decides to wait, Rome’s tourism business will experience a welcome boomlet, as the faithful and the over 6,000 accredited journalists will remain until the white smoke emerges. As he was waiting, Fr. Diego considered which qualifications the new pontiff needs: “He needs to get the message across that faith is an individual experience that you express in the community. And he needs to fix the Curia [Vatican bureaucracy].” Fr. Diego even allowed himself to think about the prospect of a Colombian Pope: Colombia has one voting cardinal. “All the violence has given us a bad reputation”, he reflected. “But most Colombians are good. So why not a Pope?”

Then a noise went through the crowd and people ran towards the jumbotron: it was black smoke.

 

CONCLAVE SCHEDULE (All times Rome local)

06:30-07:30 – Breakfast served in St. Martha’s House (Domus Sanctae Marthae)

07:45 – Transfer from Domus Sanctae Marthae to Pauline Chapel

08:15-09:15 – Mass in Pauline Chapel

09:30 – First vote of morning in Sistine Chapel

11:00 – Second vote of mornng

12:00 – Smoke from morning ballot papers (unless pope is elected after first morning vote)

12:30 – Cardinals return to St. Martha’s House for lunch

16:00 – Cardinals return to Sistine Chapel

16:50 – First of two votes in the afternoon

18:00 – Second vote in afternoon

19:00 – Smoke from afternoon ballot papers (unless pope is elected after first afternoon vote)

19:15 – Vespers in Sistine Chapel

19:30 – Cardinals return to St. Martha’s House

20:00 – Supper

This schedule repeats itself until there is a result. After three days, if no pope has been elected by a two-thirds majority, voting is traditionally suspended for one day of prayer and discussion.

Source: Vatican Radio



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Movies

From 'La Femme Nikita' to 'Lucy,' a list…

French filmmaker Luc Besson has created a cottage industry of junk cinema. Here are his many unique action heroes, including Liam Neeson and "Lucy"'s Lucy.

Movies

Review: 'Lucy,' with Scarlett Johansson, is smart, stupid…

Luc Besson's "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson gains increased control over her brain, is a film about smart and stupid but always enjoyable.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.