Mar 12 2013 By Cheryl Mullin
CARDINALS were celebrating a final Mass today before sequestering themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave to elect the next pope.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was leading today’s Mass in St Peter’s Basilica even though he is too old to vote.
This afternoon, 115 cardinals will file into the frescoed Sistine Chapel singing the Litany of Saints, a hypnotic Gregorian chant imploring the intercession of saints to help them choose a pope.
They will hear a meditation by an elderly Maltese cardinal, take an oath of secrecy, and then cast their first ballots.
The first puffs of smoke are expected to emerge from the chapel chimney by 8pm – black for no pope, white if a pope has been chosen.