L.A. Prayer Vigil Planned Ahead of Papal Conclave – Dave Mecham Reports

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Local Catholics planned an all night prayer vigil for Monday night at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown L.A. in preparation of the conclave to choose the next pope set to begin Tuesday.

The vigil was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Monday and end at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Over the weekend workmen installed a new chimney on Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

When the cardinals gather Tuesday for the start of the conclave, the entire world will be watching that chimney, which will signal the election of a new pope with what has been called the most famous smoke signal in the world.

Once inside, the cardinals will be sworn to secrecy. The chapel is being swept for listening devices and counter measures are being employed to prevent the use of any electronic communications from inside.

As the cardinals gathered in Rome last week before being cut off from the outside world, word has already leaked of a possible rift between cardinals from North and South America, as well as other countries, over the timing of the conclave.

Cardinals from the Americas reportedly want to air some issues before the start of the conclave, while others want to get on with it.

“There’s kind of this guerrilla insurrection going on among cardinals from other parts of the world, including some Americans, who are very theologically conservative, but very progressive in terms of business management that really want to shake things up around this place, and I think part of the drama of this conclave will be which one of those currents prevails,” CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said.

Tuesday the conclave will begin with a special Mass in the morning and in the afternoon the 115 voting cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church take an oath of secrecy and in order of seniority, take their ballots to the alter.

More than a two-thirds majority will be needed to declare a winner, which equates to 77 votes.

“There’s definitely an excitement and slowly the awareness of how historic this is,” said Father Slawek Szkredka.

Ballots will be burned in an incinerator after each voting session.

If there is no winner, they are burned with a chemical that produces black smoke. White smoke will indicate that a new pope has been chosen.

KTLA 5′s Lynette Romero and Chip Yost will be reporting live from Vatican City beginning Monday.

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