Departure for the conclave

March 6, 2013

Departure for the conclave bears a strange resemblance with a military operation, if I may use this analogy: "on your marks, get ready, go!" We must admit, frankly, the Roman pontiff's resignation took us short, if not by surprise, so we ended up in more or less uncharted land with regards to holding the conclave. Practically speaking, our Archbishop Emeritus and his brethren the Cardinals were all in the same boat. How do you book a flight when you don't know the departure date, even more so the return date? How long to stay in residence, what to pack in your luggage, a woollen jacket or sun glasses?
Such considerations are quite prosaic, you may say, nevertheless they require some attention in order to be ready to answer the call. Another critical point was the media, a reality that, like an insatiable beast, must feed all the information networks and the press. The Communications Department had to implement a communication strategy to face the music, all the more quickly the media are knocking on all doors to get information. We find ourselves flooded with comments by so-called "specialists" who are having a field day, all the more so since many of them know nothing about the topic. Interview requests abound, and everyone has its predictions.  

We finally received the convocation for the conclave and the journey began shaping. We smoothly crossed over the Atlantic with a stop in Germany, and landed in Rome in glorious sunshine. As soon as we exited the international arrivals area, the Cardinal was bombarded with journalists' flashes and comment requests from the many electronic media there to "point" the arrival of conclavists. The Vatican's driver shirked us quickly towards the Paul VI Residence where the Cardinal will stay until he enters into conclave. He shall then stay in the Saint-Martha House with all the conclavists.  

The College of Cardinals was convened the Monday following our arrival to begin the congregations. Usually there are two per day, but there was only one for two days. Thursday we were back to two per day.  At the end of the day on Wednesday, all the cardinals and the faithful who wished were invited to St. Peter's Basilica for one hour of Eucharistic adoration, with Vespers and Eucharistic blessing. The liturgy impressed by its simplicity and the fervent prayer of those present.  

The sun hid behind the clouds, and it is now raining. It should not last, since the weather should come back by Friday.

Richard Saint-Louis, d.p. 


What is the sum of 4 and 8?*

Go back