A chimney installed especially for the Conclave.
Here are some of the top questions people are asking at the moment:
2. How do they make the smoke black or white? The ballot papers with the names of those voted for are burned, and a suitable chemical added to determine the colour of the smoke. It would have been more fun to make the smoke red, I think! The smoke we are watching for will either signal that the Cardinals did not reach a two-thirds vote for one man (black smoke) or that a new Pope has been chosen (white smoke).
Last night I found the Church where St Catherine of Siena’s body rests. Whatever your Christian tradition/denomination, she is certainly a great model of holiness and dedication to prayer:
St Catherine of Siena (left).
Although a Catholic dominated country, there are a few surprises to be found in Italy. This morning I stumbled across an Anglican Church, which even has an English speaking toddler group, hidden in a little street!
All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome
Whilst I have been waiting for the conclave to start, I have been looking at how long pontificates have lasted in recent years. On average they are somewhere between 8 and 15years. Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, was in leadership for just shy of 8 yrs, which is considerably longer than two Popes before him. Pope John Paul I was only in position for 33 days, having his reign ended because of a fatal heartattack. In spite of the very short time he was in power, Pope John Paul I has been remembered ever since for being the smiling Pope because of his jovial nature and sense of humour. It just goes to show how much of an impact one can have… you can get a name for yourself after just one month!
Tomorrow the Cardinals will meet for an afternoon of prayer in St Peter’s Basilica. They have sent a telegram from all of them to Benedict XVI, offering him their thanks and greetings, so things are moving on… albeit slowly.
As you can see from today’s photos, the sunshine has disappeared and we now have rain/cloud.
Welcome to new readers from Finland and Lithuania!
God bless you all,
Maria - reporting from Rome until we hear the words ‘We have a Pope!’.