Cardinals Praying in St. Peter’s

Some shots from the live stream.

The Cardinals and others are at the Altar of the Chair in San Pietro, praying.

Msgr. Marini leading the Rosary.

Getting ready for Exposition and Vespers.

Their collectives Eminences are singing Vespers in Latin.

The choir has improved over the years.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mandy P. says:

    Thanks, Father! I’ve had it on this morning and we took the opportunity to break from home school activities to pray the rosary with the cardinals. I figure we won’t have many chances to do that so we’d better take advantage of it while we can.

  2. StJude says:


  3. majuscule says:

    Thank you so much for these pictures. I don’t have TV and my broadband is limited so my video watching is too. I appreciate so much being able to see these men, one of whom we will get to know very well in the time to come.

    Seeing their postures while praying the rosary was informative…

  4. NBW says:

    Majuscule, yes, seeing their postures while praying was very informative. Thanks for the wonderful pictures Father Z.

  5. StJude says:

    Father Z.. I tweeted this to you but thought I would put it here in case anyone wants to do this.
    Adopt a Cardinal!

    I adopted
    Cardinal Stanis?aw Ry?ko, from Poland. born 1945-7-4.
    He’s been a Cardinal since 2007-11-24 and his function is: President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

    I am praying for him specifically and of course for all the Cardinals.

  6. moosix1974 says:

    Where in the basilica was this? I don’t see the great Bernini altar.

  7. Jason Keener says:

    Beautiful prayer service. I agree, Father. The choir has improved quite a bit. Let us all continue to pray and fast for the College of Cardinals.

  8. jaykay says:

    moosix1974: it’s directly behind it. See 52 on this plan:

  9. Stumbler but trying says:

    I am glad I watched and prayed along with them as I had a sense of the great burden that lies before them at this time in the Church’s history. May the Lord bless them all with courage and trust. May we all continue to pray with them and for them. Amen

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    Stopped what I was doing so I could recite the Roasary at 11:00 AM here on the East coast. Wish I could have been home so that I could have had EWTN on.

  11. majuscule says:

    Another comment… Thanks Fr. Z for identifying Msgr. Marini. I have noticed him beside Benedict XVI in pictures and was curious about who he is, but had no name. I hope he can stay in his position as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations.

  12. Mandy P. says:

    @ StJude,

    We “adopted a Cardinal” as a family just this morning. We got Domenico Cardinal Calcagno. He’s an Italian, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (had to look that one up!), and from what I’ve found on ye olde Google it looks like he is a weapons aficionado and enjoys hunting and shooting at the range. That last bit is right up my husband’s alley.

  13. Gaetano says:

    I don’t have a more charitable way of saying this: It would have been more inspiring watching the event on EWTN if so many of the cardinals hadn’t looked so bored.

  14. oldcanon2257 says:

    I pray that the next Pope will consecrate Msgr. Guido Marini a bishop and either keep him as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations or appoint him the Secretary of the CDW (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). The Church need more priests like him to continue Benedict XVI’s true liturgical reform.

  15. Joe in Canada says:

    I have no doubt been doing it wrong. I thought the Humeral Veil was just for the actual act of Benediction, but here it is being used to carry the Blessed Sacrament to and from (it seems) the Altar. Is that correct?

  16. Flos Carmeli says:

    How does one stream CTV live? We don’t have EWTN, but we do have good internet capabilities….
    I would love to be able to see it myself, but mostly want to show it to our children. Our oldest son (9) would absorb it all like a sponge.
    Thanks for the help!

  17. jbpolhamus says:

    MASSIVE ‘obmbellino’ sighting! And interestingly, seen from underneath, it seems to have a second interior layar, covering the ribs. VERY nice!

  18. I don’t have a more charitable way of saying this: It would have been more inspiring watching the event on EWTN if so many of the cardinals hadn’t looked so bored.

    Well…as someone who sees people praying at Mass day after day, I can tell you, at any given moment, sometimes we may not “look” prayerful–but so what? Sometimes charity suggests leaving some things unsaid altogether.

  19. Moosix:

    The cardinals appear to be praying at the altar of the Chair, which is–from the perspective of the nave–“beyond” the great altar that is so familiar.

    If ever you visit Rome, you can easily see this area; daily Mass is offered there, and you can sit exactly where the cardinals are now. I remember the first time I was there, as a seminarian, visiting with two others; and I discovered that in Rome, the faithful do not seem to go forward for communion in the orderly way we’re accustomed to in the U.S. My friends and I were seated toward the back, and we waited out turn, as seemed normal to us; and the folks who were blocked in were clearly impatient with us as we waited.

  20. Hmmm… tired, mostly old men, many with jet lag …

  21. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Readers may want to know that Msgr Marini, the papal MC, has published some of his reflections on the liturgy. Topics include Latin, beauty, Communion practices, the crucifix on the altar, and silence. Guido Marini, Liturgical Reflections of a Papal Master of Ceremonies, trans. Nicholas L. Gregoris (Pine Beach, NJ: Newman House Press, 2011);

  22. MaryAlice says:

    Is not our Church an awesome place? Is not our God an awesome God? Watching the Cardinals, listening to Vespers is so inspiring.

    Some day I hope to see the Eternal City.

  23. Also, regarding the prayerfulness of the cardinals: the picture, above, shows almost all (as far as I can tell) kneeling during adoration. I can well imagine many of them find that difficult in their 60s, 70s and 80s. And yet, they knelt.

  24. moosix1974 says:

    Fr. Fox, thank you. I understand now. About the people coming forward for Communion, I learned recently that in the old days this is how it was done. People were not herded up to the altar like sheep. They came forward when they were ready to receive. It may seem a little chaotic, but I guess it is to perhaps help the communicant feel more intimate with Jesus? Our priest told us at our last EF Mass that we were welcome to do it this way, though I think we’re all conditioned to come up in neat orderly lines and and that’s what everyone did. Old habits die hard.

  25. moosix1974 says:

    Jaykay, wow, thanks! I had never seen a floor plan of St. Peter’s before. SO many, many side altars. I assumed there would be some, but there are several. Can’t wait to go and see them for myself someday.

  26. Titus says:

    Here’s one completely off-topic: is there any significance to the color of the cassock worn by the servers? I seem to recall generally seeing Mgr. Marini in fuscia when he’s MC’ing, and the MCs and some of the servers are here, but some are also wearing black. What gives?

  27. Fr. Z: “Hmmm… tired, mostly old men, many with jet lag …” – You make me chuckle Father. The Poor Cardinals must be a bit overdone by now, I pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Conclave; Oremus, Orate et Orate!

    That is a good point, Joe, why do they use the Humeral Veil for the Blessed Sacrament Procession, but not for the Actual Benediction?

    Liturgical mayhem in San. Pietro? o_0

  28. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr Martin Fox and moosix1974: communion row by row and video appeals in church, gosh, North America is indeed an exotic place!

    GMT-1 Night crew now going to bed.

  29. Sandy says:

    As some other have mentioned, the postures and looks on their faces are very telling. Of course many are tired and they do carry a heavy burden, but I wonder if some are just plain opposed to the Rosary. I have long believed that it is extremely meaningful when a priest (bishop, etc.) is consecrated to and close to Mother Mary.

  30. jbpolhamus says:

    Mary Alice, our God is indeed an awesome God. He is in heaven, and doth whatever the heck he wants to do (I paraphrase the psalms in so saying). And Vespers is indeed a most righteous service. It makes one wonder, doth it not, why more Catholic parishes don’t sing Vespers on a Sunday afternoon, or First Vespers of a major feast, as the documents of Vatican II instruct them sot to do. “Pastors of churches are to see to it that the principal offices are to be celebrated in churches, with congregations.” (Or something very much to that effect or, to this point, lack thereof.) It is curious, no?

  31. Maria says:

    Dear Flos Carmeli,

    “How does one stream CTV live? ” —-

    God’s blessings of peace & joy!


  32. jbpolhamus says:

    Our church is indeed an awesome church, too, although at certain times it is a great deal more awesome than at others, at least in its outward ecclesiastical behaviour. I love it, despite all, but I would very much like to be able to wake-up slap many of its senior members sometimes.

  33. OrthodoxChick says:

    St. Jude and Mandy P.,

    I just adopted a cardinal too and I’m so excited!!! I was given John Cardinal Onaiyekan. He is Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. He was just made a cardinal on 24 Nov 2012. Now I need to go search around on the internet to try to learn something more about him.

    This adopt a cardinal program is so fun! I feel like I have a special connection to “my” cardinal. Here’s the link again if anyone else wants to do this:

  34. Sandy:

    I don’t know you, I acknowledge, but–what do you think? If someone photographed or videotaped you during prayer, would s/he perhaps capture you with a posture or facial expression that was incongruous?

  35. acardnal says:

    Fr. Thomas Kocik says:
    Guido Marini, Liturgical Reflections of a Papal Master of Ceremonies, trans. Nicholas L. Gregoris (Pine Beach, NJ: Newman House Press, 2011);

    Fr. Kocik, I went to the url you posted and do not see Marini’s book. Cannot even locate a Search box! Not a very user friendly site.

  36. mysticalrose says:

    Thanks for the pics Fr Z. We don’t have cable, so it was great to see. My husband rushed home to pray the rosary with me and the children at 11:00. It was wonderful to be united in prayer with the Cardinals! We also adopted a Cardinal– we got Coccopalmerio, a canon lawyer with an important title, but I cannot remember what it is :)

  37. MarcAnthony says:

    Tangentially related to this, I’ve always wanted to experience Mass at St. Peter’s. What a beautiful Church.

  38. StJude says:

    @orthodoxchick I have been having fun finding out about my adopted Cardinal too.

  39. Jacob says:

    I see our man, Raymond Cardinal Burke.

  40. LadyMarchmain says:

    Thank you so much, Father, for posting this!
    And for

    I was assigned Cardinal Peter Erdo! I’m so excited. It’s also appropriate as my grandmother was Hungarian and from Budapest.

  41. LadyMarchmain says:

    Thank you so much, Father, for posting this!

    I was assigned Cardinal Peter Erdo! I’m so excited. It’s also appropriate as my grandmother was Hungarian and from Budapest.

  42. OrthodoxChick says:

    St. Jude,

    I’m having fun learning about my cardinal too. He’s very impressive!

  43. JPB:

    You asked why more parishes don’t have sung Vespers on Sundays. I can offer these reasons, based largely on experience.

    Where parishes have many Masses on the weekend, they don’t often have many priests, nor many music directors. So the celebrant and choir director for Vespers will have been busy all weekend. What’s more, the choir that will need to prepare, will already be preparing for Sunday Mass.

    That assumes a parish has a priest interested in leading this, and a choir and choirmaster willing AND capable of executing it.

    In my last parish, I was willing, my choir and director were willing and becoming capable, but we didn’t get it done very often. For one reason, because we knew, odds were, many more people would hear the choir at Mass than at Vespers. At some point, we hoped to be able to execute sung Vespers, but the priority was singing Mass propers and polyphony. (We did have concerts at which the schola sung the Mass music repertoire they were building.)

  44. acardnal says:

    As a layman who prays the Liturgy of the Hours, I would happily attend Sunday evening Vespers even without any choir present. I would prefer Exposition and Benediction, too, but even if the recitation of Vespers was all we did, I would be there! I note that EWTN does have Exposition and Benediction with a meditation by a priest on Sunday afternoon/evening.

  45. AJ says:

    Here’s a little bit of help with regards to two of the questions posted here Father Z.

    Question with regards to the usage of the Humeral Veil
    – it was indeed used during the transfer of the Sacred Species to the Altar of the Chair, during the Benediction, and during the reposition back to Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The photos shared by Fr. Z don’t show Cardinal Comastri during the Benediction but it was used, as it is supposed to be.

    Question with regards to the differences of the cassocks used.
    – the clerics using the black cassocks are actually not wearing cassocks but the Augustinian habit. They are actually the ones in charge of the Papal Sacristy and Treasury. The priest who actually carried the transfer and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament is an Augustinian himself, my apologies but his name escapes me right now. The other servers are wearing purple as a livery garment and because they are serving a prelate. It does not change even if we are in a Sede Vacante.

    SRE Angelo Cardinal Comastri is the Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter’s hence he lead the Vespers.

    I pray this helps and many thanks again to Fr. Z for the ongoing coverage! My prayers are always with you and your dear readers Fr.

  46. off2 says:

    Am I the only viewer for whom the pis are not opening all the way?

    There is no rt click>reload image command any more.

    I’ve cleared cache, history, etc.

    Heeeelp! Tnx.

  47. Stumbler but trying says:

    Flos Carmeli says:
    6 March 2013 at 1:12 pm
    How does one stream CTV live? We don’t have EWTN, but we do have good internet capabilities….

    You can watch EWTN live on the internet and since you say you “have good internet capabilities” you should have no problems.

    @ Fr. Martin Fox:
    I agree with you with regards to the cardinals. I cannot even begin to imagine what is going on with each one of them while there. What is important is to give thanks to God they were there and that many desired this prayer service to take place. They are only human after all and many are elderly and yet, to the best of their ability, they came and they prayed.
    May the Lord bless them for their efforts!

  48. Mamma B says:

    Can someone explain the umbrella? I don’t think we do that in the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

  49. RobertK says:

    I created my own top ten list for the Cardinals I’m hoping for. Just for fun.

  50. jbpolhamus says:

    Mamma B: See my comment above. It’s an ombrellino, a liturgical umbrella specifically intended to cover Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when he is in transit about the church (as from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in a large Cathedral, or out the aisle to a waiting canopy for a solemn procession through the streets). In smaller churches, where it has traditionally been the case that the tabernacle and altar were united, no ombrellino was necessary for the Blessed Sacrament, since it would be removed from the tabernacle and placed directly into the monstrance for Benediction or Adoration. But in Cathedrals, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in a chapel of its own – because in Cathedrals in the traditional rite, auxiliaries and visiting prelates sit not on a throne but on a faldstool facing the congregation and would thus be constantly turning their backs on Our Lord during liturgy – the ombrellino is, or was, of constant use. It is good to see it being properly used in St. Peter’s. They need it there, since getting Our Lord from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to the Altar of the Chair is a good five to seven minute process!

  51. jbpolhamus says:

    Fr. Fox, I was speaking rhetorically, obviously. It is good that you cared enough to try, and yes, it’s an extra service, and one that generally draws a specific audience of people who are interested in making the liturgical office a part of their Sunday worship. I think generally about 1/10 of the congregation are interested. But with traditional vespers, and remember, when the documents of Vatican II were published the breviary had not yet been reformed (that didn’t happen until 1976), so traditional Vespers is what they were talking about. And Traditional Vespers are very regular, with minimal changes through the year. Once they are learned, they are known, and easy to prepare for. So, really it’s a matter of will and priority. I would also say that the Vat II documents don’t really admit to any objections. Clerics are told to see to it. But they haven’t. Sports takes Sunday afternoons, with hardly an objection from any diocesan pulpit I have ever, ever been associated with. You know, an excellent way to get a congregation for Vespers is to involve as many children as possible, in the singing, and in the serving. Where they are, their parents will follow. Liturgy is a team-sport. Present it like that, and results will follow. But it has to be solid liturgy, not modern fluff. Most kids want to grow up, both in the world and the faith. Give them something serious to do and to pray, and they’ll never look anywhere else. Bear in mind, also, that I’m not really talking to you, since you actually tried, but rather to any other priest who might happen to read these remarks. This Sunday my Gregorian Schola is going to be singing and serving Laetare Vespers in Imperial Beach, CA. We get it done, and we’re not even clerics. Heck, we don’t even hail from one parish, and we’ve been getting the liturgical office done for over a decade. Now if we can do it, I’ll bet you can too. :-)

  52. JonPatrick says:

    Regarding vespers, one possibility is what we did after a parochial EF Mass we used to attend which sadly is no longer. The EF Mass was at 12:30 PM, after all of the OF masses and when our priest was available. Mass (Missa Cantata with choir) would end around 2 PM. We would go downstairs for coffee, donuts, and fellowship for about an hour, then come back up to the church for Vespers. The choir would sit in with the congregation and we would all sing the various psalms, antiphons and the Magnificat using a fairly simple plainchant. Since much did not vary from week to week it was not hard to get the hang of things. A pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon although there was some grumbling from the football fans.

  53. Titus says:


    Thank you for the rundown on the vesture.

  54. Stumbler but trying says:

    Nice to see Cardinal Luis Tagle in prayer. I like him lots, especially, since Papa Benedict does. I think this little video is sweet with regards to him:

  55. MrMC says:

    Thank you Father for the pictures. It seems in this busy world, it is hard to stop and realize all this is happening.
    I want to make a remark about use of the humeral veil and the ombrellino. My understanding is that the humeral veil is used to carry the Blessed Sacrament to the altar when It is not located there already. In our parish, we do this on Good Friday. The Blessed Sacrament is reposed in our crypt church (basement) and we send the celebrant (or another priest if one is available) down there. He places the humeral veil on (assisted by an altar server), gathers up the ciborium, and then comes up to the vestibule to enter from the back of the church up the main aisle. This makes the entry of the Blessed Sacrament all the more powerful for the occasion. Once at the altar the humeral veil is removed. I would suggest that even if you have the Blessed Sacrament reserved at a side altar, make the effort to carry It down a side aisle and back up the main aisle to lengthen the entry. To bring the Blessed Sacrament in during the Good Friday service makes it all the more real that He is not there during the day.

    We also have an ombrellino similar to the one in the picture that we obtained from Rome at no small cost (from what I hear). We do use it when processing with the Blessed Sacrament while still inside the church. Once It goes outside, there are four men carrying a canopy over It. The ombrellino is a nice treat, but you need somone sufficiently tall to make sure it is carried over the priest and the Blessed Sacrament – and a bit of practice.

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