In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 18, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside at a Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff," which will be concelebrated by the other cardinal electors.
A note from the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff states that, "in order to show communion in prayer on the part of the entire Church at such an important moment, cardinal non-electors, bishops, priests, deacons, and members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are also earnestly invited to participate in the celebration, as are the lay faithful of all God's people present in Rome."
"The entire Church, spiritually united with Mary Mother of Jesus, and called to persevere unanimously in prayer following the example of the first Christian community, lifts humble and insistent prayers to the Lord, that He may illuminate the minds of the electors and bring them to agreement, in order to obtain a prompt and unanimous election of the new Pope."
At 4.30 p.m. on Monday, April 18 the entry into conclave and the oath for the election of the new Roman Pontiff will take place in keeping with the norms laid down by the "Ordo Rituum Conclavis." The cardinal electors, preceded by the Cross and the Book of the Gospels, and accompanied by the singing of the Litany of the Saints, will enter in procession from the Hall of Blessings to the Sistine Chapel where, after singing "Veni Creator," they will pronounce the prescribed oath.
In addition to the cardinal electors, others participating in the procession include the secretary of the conclave, the master of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, the secretary of the cardinal dean, the ecclesiastic who will preach the meditation, masters of ceremonies, the dean, ministrants, and the "Cappella Musicale Pontificia."
At 4 p.m., the note concludes, the following people may access the Sistine Chapel: the substitute of the Secretariat of State, the secretary for Relations with States, the prefect of the Pontifical Household, the two religious who supervise the sacristy, the priests charged with hearing confessions and the commander of the Swiss Guard. There will also be authorized personnel from the Swiss Guard, the healthcare authorities, the floreria (a Vatican office in charge of furnishings), photographers, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Television Center, and the Holy See Press Office. -V.I.S.