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On Monday, April 18, the Cardinals will gather in the Sistine Chapel in Rome to choose the next Pope. During these days leading up to the Conclave, let us pray earnestly that the Cardinal Electors will open their hearts and minds to the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that God will grant us a shepherd who will lead us to ever greater unity and love, that our Church may shine out as a sign of Christ’s love for the whole world to see.

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful,
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

Lord, you are our eternal shepherd and guide.
In your mercy grant your Church
a shepherd who will walk in your ways
and whose watchful care will bring us your blessing.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


In 2003, Pope John Paul II published his last book of poetry, Roman Triptych:  Meditations.  In these poems (which even before his death were called "his spiritual last testament") he speaks of the Conclave which would follow his death.

It is here, beneath this wondrous Sistine profusion of color
that the Cardinals assemble--
the community responsible for the legacy of the
    keys of the Kingdom.
They come here, to this very place.
And once more Michelangelo wraps them in his vision.
"In Him we live and move and have our being."

Who is He?
Behold, the creating hand of the Almighty,
    the Ancient One,
reaching towards Adam...
In the beginning God created...
He, who sees all things...

The colors of the Sistine will then speak the
    word of the Lord:
Tu es Petrus--once heard by Simon, son of John.
"To you I will give the keys of the Kingdom."
Those entrusted with the legacy of the keys
gather here, letting themselves be enfolded
    by the Sistine's colors,
by the vision left to us by Michelangelo--
So it was in August, and again in October,
in the memorable year of the two Conclaves,
and so it will be once more, when the time comes,
after my death.
Michelangelo's vision must then speak to them.
"Con-clave": a shared concern for the legacy of the keys,
    the keys of the Kingdom.
Lo, they see themselves in the midst of the
    Beginning and the End,
between the Day of Creation and the Day of Judgment...
It is granted man once to die, and thereafter, the Judgment!

Final transparency and light.
The clarity of the events--
the clarity of consciences--
During the conclave Michelangelo must teach them--
Do not forget:  Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Eius.
You who see all, point to him!
He will point him out...

Pope John Paul II
"Epilogue," Roman Triptych, 2003



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