VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Timothy Dolan told the press outside Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Rome that he is anxious for the conclave to begin and that he feels peaceful now that the start date is known.

“I’m anxious to get started. There was a sense of peace once we decided to start the conclave on Tuesday. … God willing, I’ll be home before Palm Sunday,” he said as he went into his titular parish on March 10.

Palm Sunday takes place March 24. Before his return to his home, the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Dolan is scheduled to remain in Rome until the election and inauguration of a new pope to succeed the retired Benedict XVI.

The action in Rome shifted March 10 from the Vatican to the various churches throughout the city that the cardinals received when they were elevated. Many of the 115 cardinal electors celebrated Mass at these parishes to spend time with the people of God before they enter into the conclave on Tuesday afternoon.

EWTN News had personnel at several of the churches, and the amount of buzz surrounding the different potential popes was observable by the size of the media pack that held vigil at their Masses.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, Cardinal Dolan made his way into the packed church, greeting members of the press and the congregation with his trademark charm.

After greeting the pastor, his brother priests and the faithful, Cardinal Dolan began his homily by saying, “Listen, this is our secret: After St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, this is my favorite church,” which was met with a round of applause.

He also urged the parishioners to pray that “we cardinals rely on the prayers of all the people of God.”

At Our Lady of Victory parish in the heart of Rome, Cardinal Séan O’Malley was also greeted by a large media presence, and, interestingly, there were many Italian outlets on site.

Cardinal O’Malley delivered his homily in Italian and then offered some brief remarks in English. He called upon the Holy Spirit to descend on the cardinals as they choose a new pope.

The cardinals will hold one final general meeting on Monday morning, giving the last people on the list a chance to speak. Later that evening, the sound technicians who will assist with the conclave will take their oath of secrecy.


Conclave Begins

On Tuesday at 10am, all of the cardinals will gather in St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate Mass for the election of a new pope.

At around 5pm, the cardinals will enter into the conclave and take another oath of secrecy that is specific to that process.

The first vote for the successor to Benedict XVI will take place that evening, and the first chance to see smoke will be around 7pm.