Today’s the day it all begins! The Cardinals have assembled at the Vatican and are about to start the historic and tradition-filled process of selecting the new pope. I’m so excited to be sharing this experience with my children ages 16, 13 and 10. Eight years ago when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, they were all too small to be very aware of all that was going on. Now they’re not only old enough but they’re eager to soak it all in.
I can still remember when Pope Paul VI died. I was 8 years old and we were watching a Cowboys game. (Since he died in August, it must have been a pre-season game.) The news was scrolled across the bottom of the screen and my mother started to tear up along with several other family members. I was fascinated by the election process then and I’m still fascinated by it.
So, our family is going to participate in as many ways as we can. Even though it might be too late for you to hop a plane to witness the process from the sidelines in Rome, it’s not too late to participate in the Conclave in a meaningful way.
Here’s what we have planned for the day:
- We’ve each adopted a Cardinal to pray for. You can too, just check out this link to be randomly assigned a Cardinal. Once you have your name, set aside time to pray that the Holy Spirit will work through your Cardinal to select the pope that our Church needs.
- Make your own Sistine Chapel smokestack to track the votes. You can update the smoke after each vote with either “Black smoke-no pope yet” or “White smoke-we have a new pope!”
- Here’s some interesting information about the process for children of all ages.
- We might even make our own Vatican flag and Papal Coat of Arms
- If you’re even more ambitious you can make this cool Papal Lap Book.
- Of course, we’ll be watching as much of the TV coverage as possible. EWTN is covering it of course as well as the major networks and cable news sources.
If I get ambitious, I might do some papacy-themed cooking. How about “pope pops?” Or, maybe I should keep thinking…