AP, BBC TWITTER
VATICAN CITY - In a solemn ceremony, 115 cardinal-electors gathered in Rome to choose the new Pope celebrated the traditional pre-conclave mass on Tuesday morning just hours before entering the Sistine Chapel to cast their first ballots for the next pontiff.
The surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first in more than six centuries, adds additional intrigue to this conclave, as cardinals must find amongst themselves a new leader to both reform Vatican management and rekindle the faith of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.
Footage of the pre-conclave mass - Source: BBC News
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who at 85 is too old to vote in the conclave, gave the homily in his role of Dean of the College of Cardinals that called for unity in choosing and following the successor of Benedict.
The AP reported one of the offertory prayers during the Mass read: “Let us pray for the cardinals who are to elect the Roman pontiff...May the Lord fill them with his Holy Spirit with understanding and good counsel, wisdom and discernment.”
Thousands of pilgrims, tourists and journalists waited in line to get inside St. Peter's Basilica for the ceremony.
— Andrea Tornielli (@Tornielli) March 12, 2013
— Alastair Jamieson (@alastairjam) March 12, 2013
March of the Cardinals into San Pietro mass before conclave start. One will be pope this week. twitter.com/ereguly/status…
— Eric Reguly (@ereguly) March 12, 2013
— Catholic.net (@Catholic_Net) March 12, 2013
Lord, give us a Holy Pastor to enlighten Your people
Although a large number of worshippers had congregated outside the basilica from early morning -- tickets to the mass being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis -- St. Peter’s Square was soon deserted as blue sky gave way to hail, heavy rain and thunder.
— AlunThomas (@alunth) March 12, 2013
Hail stone pounds Rome as Conclave mass goes on. One lady says "maybe its god saying he doesn't like first choice" twitter.com/skynewsmichell…
— Michelle Clifford (@skynewsmichelle) March 12, 2013