March 12, 2013
On Tuesday afternoon, March 12th, the conclave to elect the new successor to Saint Peter as Vicar of Christ, will begin. One hundred and fifteen cardinal electors will process into the Sistine Chapel and take their places in this, one of the most renowned and visited sacred spaces of Christendom. Just before the announcement 'extra omnes' is made, ushering all but the 115 electors from the chapel, Augustinian Cardinal Prospero Grech will address his fellow cardinals on the important duty which it will be theirs to fulfill for the good of the Church. Cardinal Grech, at 87 years of age, though not an elector himself, has participated in the pre-Conclave congregations which brought together, at its high point, 153 cardinals for six days of prayer and discussions in preparation for the voting. Cardinal Grech, who was specifically chosen for this singular task, was named a member of the College just over one year ago by now Pope-Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Once he will have discharged his duty, Cardinal Grech will exit the Sistine Chapel and its doors will be closed and locked until a new pope is chosen.