VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork) – Members of the Catholic Church worldwide spent this Sunday worshipping, before cardinals from around the world begin meeting to elect a new pope.
As CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported, Sunday was the final day for the princes of the Church to press the flesh with parishioners, ahead of the conclave Tuesday. And it was a day tailor-made for Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
Dolan arrived like a rock star — wowing the crowd, mobbed by fans, photographers and reporters.
“I’m anxious to get going,” Dolan said. “Tuesday will be great.”
Each cardinal is assigned a Roman church for the pre-conclave mass. Cardinal Dolan’s titular, or honorary, church in Rome is Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monte Marino.
Trumpets welcomed Dolan to his honorary parish in Rome.
It was standing-room only inside the modest church, with an overflow crowd standing outside, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“I see him often when he comes here but to see him with the people is a sight all to itself,” a New York seminarian told Papa.
Dolan celebrated the Mass in Italian and delivered a well-received homily in the native language.
Outside, Dolan asked for guidance in the conclave.
At times he was jocular, reflective and prayerful, for the enormity of the moment.
“The only feeling I have, is one of immense serenity,” he said when asked if he had a feeling about how the conclave would go. “A week ago, we would have said, ‘Wow — this is a lot of work to do.’ But now, you see a sense of resignation, and trust and faith.”
Now, could Dolan be the next pope? Joe Maggraddon of Canarsie, Brooklyn, liked the idea.
“Who knows? God Almighty knows,” he said. “But if he’s the next Pope, that’ll be fantastic.”
Sweeney said despite the naysayers, the Rev. Luke Sweeney with the Archdiocese of New York told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan he thinks Cardinal Dolan has a good shot at being named pope.
“I really think that there’s something to him,” Sweeney said.
Meanwhile at the Sistine Chapel, preparations are under way. The floors are being filled with jamming equipment to prevent electronic eavesdropping.
Workers also set up the chimney and stove that will eventually release white smoke to signal to the world that a new pope has been picked.
No conclave in the past century has lasted more than five days, CBS 2′s Randall Pinkston reported.
Last time around, Pope Benedict XVI was elected after just two days of the conclave.
The new pope must win two-thirds of the votes of the 115 cardinals at the conclave.
Sweeney said he anticipates the conclave will last between two and five days.
“Next Sunday, certainly, everybody’s going to be hearing a new name at Mass,” Sweeney told Brennan.
But Vatican watchers say the 115 cardinals will do it deliberately — at their pace — on their terms.
Vatican officials said there is no reason to believe it will take long for the cardinals to elect the new pope.
“This is not just a story of a special group of people who come to Rome with a specific purpose to elect a pope. But in a sense, through the cardinals that are here, the entire church is gathered with them,” Vatican’s Rev. Thomas Rosica told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
“So it’s really shaping up like a battle between the Roman curia – the Italians– who kind of would like to take the papacy back for themselves,” said Daniel Gibson of Religion News Service. “And the outsiders – you might say — all of these cardinals who come from dioceses and big cities around the world.”
On Monday, the cardinals have one more day of General Congregation meetings. On Tuesday morning, there will be a final mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, and on Tuesday afternoon, the first vote for the next Pope.
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