Monday, March 20, 2006


I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this already, but one of the most charming aspects of Consistory Week comes on the early evening between the consistory proper and the Mass of the Rings. At that time, the public rooms of the Apostolic Palace are opened to the public, and the new cardinals take up assigned places to receive anyone who wants to show up and extend congratulations.

(A good many of the natives converge as well -- not to say anything to anyone, but simply to look around, as it's the only time the state rooms are open to the public.)

Well, the logistical information for the courtesy visits has been released. In accord with prior practice, they'll take place from 4.30 to 6.30 on Friday afternoon.

As two of the larger pilgrimage groups are coming from Boston and California, Cardinals William Levada and Sean O'Malley have been tipped to share the vast expanse of the Sala Regia to greet their well-wishers.

Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna's got the first Room of Parliaments, six of the new red hats will split the Hall of Blessings (which spans the facade of the Basilica, over its narthex) amongst themselves, and Cardinal Stanislaw of Dziwisz of Krakow will, appropriately enough, have the Room of the Pontiffs all to himself.

Loggiarazzi will be present and snapping voluminous photos, so you know where to keep it for wall-to-wall coverage of all the fun, fluff and festivity of the impressive days ahead.