Late today the Cardinals gathered in Rome for the election of a new Pope solemnly walked as one to the magnificent St Peter's Basilica to pray for the task ahead of them.
Past the bronze statue of St Peter they filed knowing they will soon vote for the next successor of the Catholic Church's first pope.
The Cardinal Dean, Angelo Sodano led the Cardinals in prayer. However the entire Church was invited to pray for the Cardinals and the days before them. And while the Cardinals prayed, not far away in the Vatican preparations were underway in the Sistine Chapel for the upcoming Conclave.
When the Chapel was closed for visitors earlier in the day it sparked even more rumours - and the city is full of rumours and speculation - about the starting date of the Conclave. In 2005, it took seven days to prepare the Chapel for the Conclave after it was closed.
Does this mean the Conclave will begin on March 12? No-one is saying as yet and it is believed a handful of Cardinals are still to arrive in Rome.
And for the world's media, more than 5,000 representing 1,004 news outlets, frustration as well. Little day-to-day news and the main event yet to be announced. As the Cardinals come and go from their preparatory meetings or the General Congregation, the media pack in behind the barriers and record anything and anyone that's moving. But the senior clergy are tight-lipped agreeing to say very little until they have cast their vote. ...
It can be an amusing time to be in Rome, but not forgetting a privileged and historical time also.
And for a city that often seems to appear somewhat blasé about Vatican City and the home of the Holy Father, it is interesting to know that when the white smoke appears above the Sistine to Chapel and the bells toll to announce that the Cardinals have voted and a new Pope has been elected, people immediately stop everything they are doing - shopping, working, even driving their cars, and rush to St Peter's to see who will be the new spiritual leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, and whose face will very quickly adorn the cups and plates, T-shirts and memorabilia in the tourist shops around the Vatican.
Katrina Lee, Director Communications, Archdiocese of Sydney
Last updated at 2013-03-06 7:43AM
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