Monday, March 11, 2013

Follow the papal conclave: a detailed schedule

The Sistine Chapel
Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press office director, released a tentative schedule for the early days of the conclave, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12. Since Rome is eight hours ahead of Pacific time, Pacific time is in parentheses below.

Times when we should expect smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney are labeled in red.

Monday, March 11
5:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m.) Approximately 90 personnel (including doctors, nurses, sacristans, bus drivers, cooks, cleaning staff, the commander of the Swiss Guard and the Chief of Vatican police) assisting the cardinals during the conclave take a secrecy oath in the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace.

Tuesday, March 12
10 a.m. (2 a.m.) Mass "Pro eligendo Summo Pontiface" (for the election of the supreme pontiff") is celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica.

3:45 p.m. (7:45 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha House, the building where the cardinals will live during the conclave) to the Pauline Chapel.

4:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m.) The cardinals process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel.

4:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m.) The oath is administered, and the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations gives the order "Extra omnes" (anyone not participating in the conclave must leave the Sistine Chapel); this is followed by a meditation by Cardinal Prosper Grech.

5 p.m. (9 a.m.) This is the approximate start time of the actual conclave with the first ballot.

7 p.m. (11 a.m.) This is the first possible smoke sighting. The smoke is black if they have not chosen a pope and white if they have chosen a pope.

7:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m.) The cardinals pray Vespers in the Sistine Chapel.

7:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from the Sistine Chapel back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

8 p.m. (noon) Dinner is served.

Wednesday, March 13
6:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12) Breakfast is served.

7:45 a.m. (11:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 12) The cardinals transfer from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel.

8:15 a.m. (12:15 a.m.) Mass is celebrated in the Pauline Chapel.

9:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel, pray Hora Media (Liturgy of the Hours) and proceed with two rounds of voting.

[10:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m.) In the event that a pope is chosen during the first votes of the morning, smoke would appear.]

Noon (4 a.m.) Smoke is sent up after the two morning votes if no pope elected.

12:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from the Sistine Chapel to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

1 p.m. (5 a.m.) Lunch is served.

4 p.m. (8 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Sistine Chapel.

4:50 p.m. (8:50 a.m.) After brief prayer, the cardinals proceed with the two rounds of evening votes.

[6 p.m. (10 a.m.) In the event that a pope is chosen during the first votes of the evening, smoke would appear.]

7 p.m. (11 a.m.) Smoke is sent up after the two evening votes if no pope elected.

7:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m.) The cardinals pray Vespers in the Sistine Chapel.

7:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m.) The cardinals transfer from the Sistine Chapel to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

8 p.m. (Noon) Dinner is served.

The conclave could follow this basic schedule for another day. After three days, if no pope has been elected by a two-thirds majority, voting is traditionally suspended for one day of prayer, discussion and spiritual exhortation. After a series of seven further ballots, the process may again be halted for reflection, until finally only the two cardinals who received the most votes in the last ballot are eligible in a runoff election. The two candidates, however, do not themselves have the right to vote.

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