“I have written to all the churches in India, asking them to have a special Mass during the days of the conclave. I asked all convents, monasteries and religious houses of contemplative life to pray especially for the election of the next pope,” said Cardinal Gracias in an official statement before he left for Rome last Wednesday.
Last week, Cardinal Gracias had told HT that he expected the papal elections to begin by the middle of this week, or latest by the end of the week. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had allowed the College of Cardinals to anticipate an earlier date to conduct the conclave instead of following the norm where the conclave is held 15 days after the Pope’s office becomes vacant.
Several churches have already begun holding special prayers. “On Sunday, we prayed for the cardinals to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to elect a Pope who can take the responsibilities of 1.2 billion Catholics across the world,” said Father Rocky Banz, parish priest of Gloria Church, Byculla. “We will continue to pray till the end of the conclave.”