Boston cardinal holds service before conclave begins
ROME (WHDH) -- There was no pope for Sunday’s Mass, but Cardinal Sean O'Malley led a service as his name continues to be mentioned as a strong candidate for the next pope of the Catholic Church.
The leader of Boston’s Catholic Church walked into his assigned church in Rome today and led a Sunday Mass, just two days before the start of the conclave.
The cardinal gave a 12-minute homily. Most of it was in Italian. He spoke of the return of the prodigal son and discussed how this time of lent is the right time to return to God.
But he gave his final statements in English, focusing on the upcoming vote for the new pope.
“This Sunday is also very special to us because we are preparing for a conclave on Tuesday. The Catholic world is united in prayer with the confidence that comes with our faith. Jesus has promised to be with us always, to give us his Holy Spirit and guide us towards our father's house, for our loving God awaits,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
The cardinal finished with a prayer before the conclave.
“Let us pray that the Holy Spirit illuminates the church to choose a new pope who will confirm us in our faith and make more visible the love of the good shepherd,” he said.
Cardinal O’Malley is seen as a real contender for pope. He is a favorite in polls among the Italian people. However, O’Malley himself says he plans to return to Boston and those closest to the cardinal say that hasn't changed at this time.
“He doesn't take it too seriously, it's not something that he's sitting there aspiring to, in essence, he'll go the way the church, the catholic church and God calls him to go,” said Terrence Donilon, Archdiocese of Boston.
Cardinal Sean as he likes to be called was impressed with Sunday morning’s service and how beautifully it went. He even said he asked the father's there if he could bring one of the statues of Saint Teresa back to Boston.
They told him Napoleon had already tried that so that statue will be staying in its place.
So all eyes now turn to the Sistine Chapel and the famous chimney which will reveal when a new pope is chosen. Firefighters put that chimney in place over the weekend.
When white smokes pours out of that chimney, hundreds of thousands of people will arrive at saint peter's square to greet the new pope.
Here's the schedule for this week:
The cardinals will go into the Sistine Chapel where they will take a vote on Tuesday.
If no pope is selected on that first ballot, the cardinals will vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon every day after that.
If they haven't reached a decision by Friday night, the cardinals will take a day of prayer on Saturday and start voting again on Sunday.
While the cardinals try to protect any leaks from the conclave, the Vatican is making sure the secret is safe.
The cardinals with Facebook and Twitter have already been warned about social media use. Internet will also be blocked throughout Vatican City for the duration of the conclave.
There will also be no TV’s, radio, newspapers or phones.
Vatican security forces are also sweeping buildings for any hidden microphones or recording devices.
“These American cardinals have had many group shots this week, but I don’t think they’ve ever had any taken of them on the bus,” said Scott Landry.
George Martell and Scott Landry work for the diocese, but also cover it and Cardinal O’Malley.
Landry writes, blogs, and does radio covering the Boston Archdiocese. He also has a personal connection to Cardinal O’Malley.
“Cardinal Sean in many ways feels like an uncle or a father figure to me. Very much look up to him. He ordained my twin brother, a Catholic priest. So, in some ways, he’s a part of the family,” Landry said.
On Monday, the cardinals held the last meeting before the conclave begins Tuesday.