The cardinals have arrived, the ballots are ready and the chimney is set – all that remains is for the new Pontiff to be chosen.
The cardinals who will choose the next Pope will adhere to a strict timetable when voting starts next week.
They will move into their quarters in the Vatican from 6am GMT on Tuesday morning, spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi revealed.
They have drawn lots for their rooms in the Santa Martha residential building not far from St Peter’s.
At 9am they will file into the Basilica to celebrate Mass.
That afternoon they will gather in the Apostolic Palace and at 3.30pm they will file in order of seniority into the Sistine Chapel for the start of the Conclave.
As the doors close on the chapel for the secret ballot, the last words the world will hear are “extra omnes” Latin for “everybody out”.
Then the cardinals will be left alone to ponder their choice. One vote will be held on Tuesday before evening prayers, which are scheduled to start at 6.15pm.
If there is no candidate with a two-thirds majority, the cardinals will return on Wednesday and the days after that until they reach a decision.
If there is no majority decision, black smoke will rise from the Vatican chimney as the secret ballots are burned.
If this happens, black smoke would be visible around 11am and 6pm each day at the conclusion of each of the voting sessions.
If the cardinals agree on a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, chemicals will be added to the ballots as they are burned and the smoke will be white.
The likely time for this on the first ballot of the morning is 9.30am and 4.30pm for the first ballot of the afternoon.
The bells of St Peter’s will also ring out signalling a Pope has been chosen and within the hour he will step out onto the balcony of the Basilica to reveal himself to the world.