To the delighted surprise of many, clouds of white smoke poured from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel March 13, indicating a pope had been elected on the conclave’s fifth ballot.
Though the Vatican has become increasingly savvy with more modern forms of communication, it’s still sticking with more primitive methods — swirling smoke and tolling bells — to announce whether a new pope has been elected.
Invoking the aid of the Holy Spirit and the holy men and women from all over the world recognized as saints, 115 cardinals processed slowly into the Sistine Chapel to begin the process to elect a pope.
As the cardinals in Rome prepare to elect a new pope, students at Presentation School in Maplewood are watching closely. They each were assigned a cardinal to study and pray for.
Despite the rain, thousands of people filled St. Peter’s Square after dark March 12, the first evening of the conclave, to witness the black smoke that signaled the Catholic Church’s 115 cardinal electors had failed, as expected, to elect a pope on the first ballot.