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Habemus Papam!
Montreal families experience the inner workings of a conclave

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Montreal – It’s a moment of high anticipation in every papal conclave: the cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel, the doors close, and the world is reduced to speculation as to what’s happening inside. Shortly before Benedict XVI’s resignation, members of St. Stanislas parish in Montreal had a behind-the-scenes experience of what happens when the doors close behind the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel.

The boy in charge of the acolytes club at St. Stanislas came up with the idea of a simulated papal election as a family and inter-parish activity. The acolytes club and the choir members organized the activity, inviting diocesan priests and families from around Montreal. All the participants came as ‘cardinals,’ dressed in red, and each received a zucchetto and a cardinal’s ring.

Just as in a real conclave, they began with the Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit), led by the choir. Then ‘Cardinal’ Veronique Chevrier, a consecrated woman, gave a reflection on the meaning of
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the voting, after which the voting began. It took only two rounds of voting for white smoke, and ‘Stanislas I’ was elected pope. After accepting his election, he was dressed in white, and ‘Cardinal’ Pierre Caouette LC gave the announcement that Habemus Papam!

The activity was a mixture of solemnity, culture, laughter, and curiosity as to who would be elected ‘pope.’ Everyone was surprised when only a few days later, Benedict XVI announced his resignation, and a real conclave was called! The families who attended the ‘conclave’ at St. Stanislas could certainly identify with the cardinals, since they were fortunate enough to have had a ‘backstage’ experience of a conclave!




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