Vatican City (AsiaNews) The Pro eligendo pontifice mass started off at 9:57 am, a few minutes ahead of schedule.
The service opened the conclave for the election of John Paul II's successor. It was led by dean of the cardinals, Mgr Joseph Ratzinger, and concelebrated by the other 114 cardinal electors decked out in their red vestment.
Cardinals without the right to vote waited for their fellow cardinal electors sitting in the front-row pews along with some other 200 bishops from around the world.
Following the initial ritual functions, the presiding celebrant prayed to God to give the Church "a Pontiff that You accept for his saintly life, one who is entirely dedicated to serve Your people".
These days, many have tried to predict, bet and analyse who is going to be Paul John II's successors.
Cardinals have instead met to discuss the life of the Church and various situations it finds itself in around the world.