Fervent 24-hour prayers in Rome to inspire cardinals
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Catholics young and old are gathering for fervent prayer around the clock in Rome to support cardinals entering a secret conclave to choose a new pope after Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
"We'll be praying for the cardinals until a decision is made, it's the part we play in the conclave," said sister Celestina, 62, a nun from Croatia.
"The Church is like a boat, all the faithful are sailing in it together but we're without a helmsman at the moment," she said, kneeling to pray in front of a portrait of John Paul II in the Santo Spirito in Sassia church in Rome.
A stone's throw from the Sistine Chapel where 115 cardinals will choose a new pope, young Catholics from all over the world were turning not to Benedict, but to his much-loved and charismatic predecessor to guide the electors.