Vatican firefighters secure a smokestack on the roof of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican March 9. Smoke coming from the chimney will be the only sign to the world of how things are progressing inside the chapel during the conclave. White smoke signals that the cardinal electors have elected a new pope. Black smoke indicates voting has been not been conclusive. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Yesterday Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, SJ released a
schedule for the sessions of the conclave to elect a new pope, set
to begin Tuesday, March 12, including a time-table for when the “fumata”
(the black or white smoke indicating whether or not a new pontiff has been
elected) can be expected from the Sistine Chapel chimney.
On Tuesday morning, a Mass “For the Election of the Roman
Pontiff” will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano,
Dean of the College of Cardinals, presiding. Later
On Tuesday at 3:45pm, the cardinals will
move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic
Palace. At 4:30pm, the cardinals will process from the Pauline Chapel to the
Sistine Chapel and, after they have all taken the oath, the Master of Papal
Liturgical Celebrations will give the order “Extra omnes” for all those not
taking part in the Conclave to leave the Sistine Chapel. The cardinals will
listen to a meditation given by Cardinal Grech, concerning the grave duty
incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good
of the Universal Church, after which they will proceed to the first vote. At
7:00pm they will pray Vespers and, at 7:30pm, will return to the Domus Sanctae
Beginning on Wednesday, 13 March, the
cardinals will move from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Pauline Chapel at
7:45am where, at 8:15am, they will celebrate Mass. At 9:30am they will enter
the Sistine Chapel, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and proceed to the voting
process. Around 12:00pm they will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae and,
after lunch there, will go back to the Sistine Chapel at 4:00pm where they will
pray briefly and resume the voting procedure until 7:00pm.
Catholic News Service’s Cindy
Wooden explains the “windows” during which smoke can be expected during the
days of voting below; I’ve added the US Eastern times in brackets:
The first smoke signal can be expected
about 7 p.m. [2 pm ET] Tuesday,
after the first vote.
Beginning Wednesday, smoke would be expected at about noon [7 am ET] and again about 7 p.m [2 pm ET].
However, if a pope is elected on the first ballot of the morning, the
white smoke would billow forth between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. [5:30 am and 6 am ET]. If he is
elected on the first ballot of the afternoon, the white smoke would be seen
between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. [12:30 pm
and 1 pm ET].
After a white smoke signal, it takes about 40-45 minutes before the
announcement of the name of the candidate who won. He must accept the office,
change to white vestments and the cardinals pledge their obedience and pray
From Robert Moynihan comes a final detail; the
words that will be proclaimed to the world following the election of a new
a Pope is elected, and accepts his election, the senior Cardinal Deacon (the
Cardinal Protodeacon, currently Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran) appears at the main balcony of the basilica’s
façade to proclaim the new Pope with the Latin phrase (assuming the new Pope is
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem [surname],
qui sibi nomen imposuit [papal name].
(“I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The Most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord,
Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church [surname],
who takes to himself the name [papal name].”)