There is a frenzy of work going on in the sumptuous Renaissance interior of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, ahead of the closed-door conclave to choose a new pope.
A total of 115 cardinal electors under the age of 80 will enter the chapel on Tuesday afternoon.
They will hold one vote Tuesday evening and up to four times a day thereafter until one of them clinches a two thirds majority – that is 77 votes.
Open canvassing is frowned upon in the run-up to a conclave , but some are already being tipped for the top job, like Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
Other likely candidates from Brazil, the US, Italy and Argentina have also been touted as possible pontiffs.
And we should know soon enough. No conclave has lasted more than five days in the past century. Pope Benedict was elected within barely 24 hours in 2005.
Web-savvy worshippers have come up with state-of-the-art papal ‘apps’ to while away the time until the new pope is chosen. As well as Fantasy Conclave, there is the Papal World Cup and also an alarm, to prevent you missing the announcement when it comes.