What does really go on at the conclave? How does it feel to vote for a Pope?
The Little Sisters of the Poor wanted to bring the events of the Church and the importance of the Conclave to Mullen Home which would help to enrich and teach the Catholic Faith in this Year of Faith to all who participated in it. Last week, Sister Joseph led a discussion group with Residents and employees about the Conclave and the History of the Church. One employee asked her, “what was the shortest Conclave,” and she answered candidly: “The one where Our Lord said to St. Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”!
Through the website from Youth 2000 “adoptacardinal.org,” the Residents, Little Sisters and employees were then able to “adopt a Cardinal,” and receive the name of a Cardinal to pray for during this time of election of our next Holy Father. At the same time, at the front door, a power point presentation was displayed where each Cardinal elector was shown, with his picture and some details of his life, which helped everyone to get to know our cardinals better. Many were surprised how many cardinals there are from Italy and were amazed at the internationality of the College.
Monday, March 11, at 3:30 p.m., everyone was invited to the Chapel (the sick residents were able to watch it from their rooms on a close circuit channel on the television) to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance for the Cardinal electors that a pope would be chosen according to the will of God. Our prayer included passages from Scripture on the importance of St. Peter in our lives today. From there we were led in procession singing the “Come Holy Ghost” to the Auditorium, for the election of the “new Pope,” the stage had a copy of Michelangelo’s fresco of “The Last Judgment” and in front of it was an “altar” where the urn was placed to receive the ballots. The oath of secrecy was taken by a “Cardinal” (our chaplain, Fr. Timothy Kremen, OSM) for all in attendance. Unlike at the Vatican, everyone was invited to witness the “election of the Pope” although once the words of the guard: “Extra Omnes” were spoken and the doors closed, no one else was allowed in or out. Resident Katherine Lesley was impressed by the reality of the proceedings.” So this is what the Cardinals are doing in Rome, is it? How exciting!” Scrutinizers examined the ballots, counted and read them while the Camerlengo (a.k.a. Mother Cornelia) recorded the results. The room was so quiet and everyone was captivated by what they were watching. On the first ballot, there were 36 votes and the highest was Card. Timothy Dolan with 10 votes, Card. Sean O’Malley with 4, Card. Schönborn with 4, Cardinal DeCastro with 2, Card. Piacenza with 2, Card. Raymond Burke with 2 and so on. We needed another vote. Finally, Cardinal Dolan received the necessary 2/3 majority with 22 votes and the words “Habemus Papam” were pronounced to the joy of everyone present. The white smoke of the burned ballots told everyone of the news and we sang “Holy God, we praise Thy Name”!
A volunteer, Sandy Hoffmann, said, “I just loved it. Seeing all those eyes dancing with hope and expectations! It was simply great. Viva il Papa to be!”
Our “Conclave” may have been a mock one, but it helped to make the traditions of the Church alive in a very real way.
Please click here to view a photo slideshow from our own conclave.