The College of Cardinals has announced that the Papal Conclave to elect the next Bishop of Rome will begin on Tuesday, March 12. The day will begin with a Mass For the Election of the Pope to be held in St. Peter’s Basilica. In the afternoon, the Cardinal Electors will process to the Sistine Chapel, where they will begin the voting process. Only one vote is held on that first day, with voting continuing the following morning with two rounds of voting in the morning and two rounds in the afternoon until one person receives a 2/3 majority of the votes needed to be elected Pope.

To learn more about the Papal Conclave and to prayerfully prepare, here are some resources from around the internet:

Adopt a Cardinal – If you have not done so already, I encourage you to visit this website, where you can be given the name of one of the Cardinal Electors to pray for leading up to and during the Conclave. I am praying for Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran from France, the Proto-Deacon and President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The Pope App – If you have a smartphone, download this official App from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications that has great official information about the Conclave and the Pope – and, even better, it’s not just for the Conclave but for all the time. Apple. Android.

Conclave App – For an App specifically designed for the Conclave, check this out – it has biographies of all the Cardinals and live video feeds, including, the promise, a live feed of the smokestack on the Sistine Chapel that will tell the world the results of each round of ballots. Apple. Android.

Conclave E-book – Wonder what goes on during a Papal Conclave? Check out this free e-book by Msgr. Charles Burns that goes step-by-step through the entire process of electing a pope. – The official news page of the Vatican contains news stories, audio interviews, and links to videos – including a recent one showing the work being done to prepare the Sistine Chapel for the Conclave.

Blogs – There are countless blogs on the internet that have commentary and coverage of the Papal Conclave. Here are a few to check out:

Whispers in the Loggia – Rocco Palmo

USCCB Media Blog – Sister Mary Ann Walsh

The Vatican Diaries – John Thavis

Papabile of the Day – John Allen

Here are some graphics of how the Conclave works and who is involved:

Inside the Conclave Graphic

Cardinal Electors from the United States

Important Places at the Vatican

There’s a lot more out there, but these are some of the best resources I have found. Stay tuned for more updates here on this blog, including a post I am preparing on essential Latin words and phrases to know for the Conclave.

UPDATE: Pope Alarm – I knew someone would come up with this eventually! Now you can sign up to receive either an e-mail or a text message when the white smoke appears from the Sistine Chapel, signaling that a new pope has been elected. So there’s no need to stay glued to the TV or webcam once the Conclave starts. Developed by FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.