After enjoying lunch in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Cardinals returned to the Apostolic Palace. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the assembly, making the sign of the Cross, pronounced:
“May the Lord, who guides our hearts in the love and patience of Christ, be with you all.”
After this brief prayer, he invited those gathered to begin the procession towards the Sistine Chapel, where the Conclave would be held, saying:
“Venerable Brothers, after having celebrated the divine mystery, we now enter into Conclave to elect the Roman Pontiff. The entire Church, joined with us in prayer, constantly calls upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, to elect from among us a worthy Pastor of all of Christ’s flock. May the Lord direct our steps along the path of truth, so that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, we may always do that which is pleasing to him.”
At 3:45 p.m. Rome time, they began their procession from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel, singing “Veni Creator Spiritus”—invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit in this, their most sacred responsibility, the election of a new Supreme Pontiff.
They have filed into the Sistine Chapel quietly, prayerfully, with the Litany of the Saints and have been seated in their assigned seats. Now, they move single-file to place their hands upon the Scriptures and to swear the oath of secrecy.
Soon, the Master of Ceremonies will pronounce the phrase “Extra omnes”; and all those not taking part will leave the Chapel, its doors will be shut, and the Conclave will begin.
Let us pray.