- Created on 13 March 2013
(CNN) -- Black smoke poured from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals' first two votes of the day were inconclusive.
The 115 voting cardinals are taking part in the second day of the secretive conclave to elect a new pope.
They will have two more opportunities to vote later Wednesday.
A two-thirds majority is required to confirm a new pontiff to step into the shoes left empty by the historic resignation of Benedict XVI at the end of last month.
Whoever it may be will take on the leadership of a church that has been rocked by child sex abuse scandals and corruption claims in recent years.
White or black smoke?
No smoke emerged after the first vote Wednesday morning, meaning the cardinals then entered a second round of voting.
The black smoke that poured from the chimney at 11:39 a.m. (6:39 a.m. ET) indicated that no result came from that second ballot, either.
The cardinals have now gone to lunch in the Vatican hotel where they are staying. While away from the Sistine Chapel, they are able to have informal conversations and mull their options.
The smoke came somewhat earlier in the day than expected Wednesday because once the cardinals are familiar with the voting procedures, they can move relatively quickly, according to the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.
However, that does not mean they are moving rapidly toward a decisive vote.
The cardinals will go back into the Sistine Chapel, famed for its frescoes by Michelangelo, for a second round of balloting at 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET), and all eyes will then return to the chimney.
Three ballots have been held so far.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told reporters that the inconclusive results so far were not unexpected, based on the number of ballots held in past conclaves.
Rosica added, "This is normal and one should not interpret this as division amongst the cardinals."
In response to a question about criticism leveled against some cardinals by a group representing the victims of clerical sex abuse, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the Vatican spokesmen defended their right to take part in the conclave.
"We are very well of SNAP and their activities," Rosica said. "SNAP have chosen this event to amplify their activities."
The cardinals named by SNAP "are worthy of our esteem," he said.
Last week, SNAP released its "Dirty Dozen" list of men it judged would be the worst candidates for pope because of their handling of, or comments on, past allegations of child sex abuse against clergy.
The scandal has shaken global confidence in the church in recent years, and dealing with it effectively is sure to be a priority for the new pope.
Peal of Vatican bells
The cardinals will conduct four votes a day for three days, Lombardi said, with a break likely on Saturday if no one has been elected by then. The day's pause would allow the cardinals time for further discussions before they cast their ballots again.
Two stoves are set up in the Sistine Chapel especially for the votes. The ballots are burned in one, while special cartridges containing a mix of chemicals are released in the other to make the color of the smoke more obvious, either black or white, Rosica said.
The cartridges produce smoke for about seven minutes, he said.
If a pope has been elected, the cardinals burn the ballots immediately. If not, the cardinals hold on to them and proceed to a second round of voting.
They burn the ballots from both rounds together after the second round.
In the past, discerning the color has been difficult at times, as it has appeared gray. But there is a second, unmistakable sign: If the smoke is indeed white, the Vatican church bells ring to celebrate the choice.
This can happen after a short delay, as was the case when the white smoke went up to signal the election of Benedict XVI.
In any case, the wait for the announcement of a new church leader should not be too long. The longest papal conclave in the past century took just five days.
If a new pope is in place by Sunday, he would probably lead the Angelus prayers on that day, Lombardi said. The first public Mass would be the inauguration Mass.
Black smoke also billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday night, after the cardinals failed to choose a new pope in the first vote of their conclave.
Huddled under umbrellas as rain came down, crowds of onlookers watched the chimney and big screens set up in St. Peter's Square.
Filipino priest and CNN iReporter Joel Camaya was among a number of Catholic faithful in the square who watched as the black smoke poured out.
There was "a collective sigh of disappointment and everyone started heading home," he said. "There was no pope, yet."
The public interest reflects the "very intense and beautiful period" the church is experiencing at the moment, Lombardi said. "We are feeling the level of intensity of the wait. We saw many people in the square last night, a lot more than I myself had expected."
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI also watched on television as the black smoke rose on Tuesday, Lombardi said.
Benedict had earlier watched on TV as the scarlet-clad cardinals attended a special Mass and took their oath of secrecy in the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave to elect his successor, he said.
The Vatican received calls Tuesday night from people concerned that the heavy black smoke might have caused damage to the Sistine Chapel or created problems for the cardinals, Rosica said.
But, he said, he could confirm that the frescoes have not been damaged and that the cardinals are enjoying good health.
The cardinals will remain locked in isolation until one candidate, almost certainly from among their number, garners a two-thirds majority, or 77 votes, and is named the new spiritual head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Until that moment, the cardinals are barred from communicating with the outside world in any way. Jamming devices have been installed to prevent the use of cell phones or other devices.
The cardinals stay in the Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican City hotel, for the duration of the conclave, moving from there to the Pauline Chapel to pray or the Sistine Chapel to vote.
Applause echoed around St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday as Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, offered thanks for the "brilliant pontificate" of Benedict, whose unexpected resignation precipitated the selection of a new pope.
When cardinals elected Benedict in 2005, after a conclave that ran into a second day, the white smoke signaling the decision came about six hours after an earlier, inconclusive vote.
Benedict is currently staying at the summer papal residence, Castel Gandolfo, while restoration work is carried out on a small monastery within Vatican City. Once it is ready, he will live out his days there in study and prayer.
CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Ben Brumfield and Stephen Howie contributed to this report.
- Created on 12 March 2013
If there is one thing in life we are guaranteed it is that things will change. How we react to change is what builds our character. Change is what allows us to become the people we want to be and need to be. There is a process to becoming different. There is a process to dealing with different. The first thing to do is acknowledge it.
We can reflect on the fact that our lives are evolving circles of light. Scripture advises that we are constantly becoming new.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed
Courage to change the things
which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen
May this start to a new week bring you change that makes you a great person.
- Created on 11 March 2013
Who is Cardinal Robert Sarah?
Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea is currently the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (the Vatican's charitable arm) and a strong candidate for pope in the upcoming March 2013 papal conclave. He would be the first African pope in history.
His origins: Cardinal Sarah was born June 15, 1945 in French Guinea. After studying in a seminary in the Ivory Coast, Sarah returned to Guinea after it achieved independence in 1958. He soon left for Paris, then Senegal, then Rome to complete his studies. He received his ordination in 1969.
His career track: In 1979, Sarah was named Archbishop of Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. John Paul II appointed him secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2001. Then, less than a decade later, Sarah was chosen to lead "Cor Unum," which organizes the Catholic church's relief effort. That same year, 2010, Benedict XVI made Sarah a cardinal.
His beliefs: Cardinal Sarah is a conservative in theological matters, but progressive on issues like social justice and economic equality. He's also an outspoken critic of authoritarian regimes.
Why he might be pope: Many experts believe the next pope will be non-European. Cardinal Robert Sarah bridges the Vatican to Africa, where the Catholic population is exploding. Yet, he's also a Vatican insider with a strong record of governance.
- Created on 11 March 2013
Grammy Award nominated, Dove, Stellar, GMWA, NAACP Image Award winning singer Dottie Peoples added another honor to her already impressive list of accolades during the 14th Allstate Gospel Superfest national TV recording and festival in Atlanta on Saturday, March 9. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her accomplishments in Gospel music.
Dottie's distinctive voice always garnered attention. After seeing her perform in Dayton, Ohio, early on in her career, Dorothy Norwood enlisted Dottie to join her on tour opening for the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder.
After touring with Norwood and the Rolling Stones, Peoples returned to Ohio where she developed quite a reputation as a jazz vocalist. "I sang jazz until I moved to Atlanta and joined Salem Baptist Church and started singing in services," Dottie Remembers. "The first solo I did was called 'If You Move Yourself.' It changed my whole life because I stood there and realized that I was blessing people. I knew I didn't want to sing jazz anymore. I just want to sing for the Lord. I got back to my roots and I've been singing gospel ever since."
In addition to singing, Peoples is also an astute businesswoman. She served as general manager of Church Door Records and also launched her own radio show. After 14 years with Church Door, Peoples signed with AIR Records and took her career to another level, earning her first Stellar Award nomination. Her AIR release, "On Time God," rocketed to No. 1 on the charts and earned her four Stellar Awards and a nomination for Soul Train's Lady of Soul Award. Peoples has continued to garner more than 50 industry accolades, including the 2010 Stellar for Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year. She launched her own label DP Muzik Group in 2008 on which her latest CD, "I Got This Live" was released in February and will introduce a new radio show, "I Got This," set to air on the Rejoice Network, beginning in April.
The Allstate Gospel Superfest "Live In Atlanta" will be hosted by TV star Wendy Raquel Robinson, who is known for her lead role as the character "Tasha Mack" on the hit BET Network series "The Game." The lineup of artists scheduled to appear includes Dottie, The Chicago Mass Choir, Tramaine Hawkins, Dorinda Clark-Cole, DeWayne Woods, Byron Cage, Earnest Pugh, Beverly Crawford, Ricky Dillard & New G, Regina Belle, and others. The one-day event will take place at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, GA 30337 on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketweb.com or by calling 866-468-7619.
More information on The Allstate Gospel Superfest is available at www.gospelsuperfest.com. The recordings from the event are scheduled to air in national syndication during the months of March and June of 2013.
- Created on 08 March 2013
From helping Atlanta's homeless, through support of Community Concerns' Odyssey III Program, to women and children seeking refuge in the shelters provided by Sister's Against Domestic Violence and the Atlanta Union Mission's My Sister's House, Zion Hill Baptist Church leaders and members are serving and making a difference, says the Rev. Aaron L. Parker, Ph.D., who is the pastor.
"Over the past 18 years, the church has established more than 35 multi-generational outreach ministries; each attached to one or more of the auxiliaries and/or programs of the church and connected to local, national and international service projects," he said.
The annual Outreach Ministry Sunday Observance at Zion Hill Baptist Church planned for March10 will celebrate the outreach program.
Preachers for the two worship services will be the Rev. Dr. J. Allen Milner, pastor, Chapel of Christian Love Baptist Church Atlanta at 8:30 a.m. and the Rev. Ernest Andrew Brooks III, associate campus minister, at Atlanta's Morehouse College during the 10:30 a.m. service.
Both speakers are proponents of community outreach and actively engaged in outreach advocacy in their professions as well as volunteers in service and educational organizations and programs.
The public is invited to attend, be informed and inspired by messages on the theme "Changing Hearts, Changing Lives Through Outreach." Zion Hill is located at 6175 Campbellton Road, S.W. in Atlanta.
"True to its motto of 'Living to Love and Loving to Serve', our members are actively addressing the needs for essential goods and services to citizens throughout the metro Atlanta community, the nation, and other parts of the world," says Pastor Parker.
Some additional examples include helping those displaced by Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy. The Katrina victims were housed in Zion Hill or in properties provided by Zion Hill and nurtured through several years of reclaiming their livelihoods. Those recovering from Hurricane Sandy on the northeast coast received financial gifts from the church.
Zion Hill extends its outreach even farther to foreign missions, giving assistance to hurricane victims in Jamaica and Haiti; and in 2009, creating the African Initiative to provide support to families in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ethiopia.
Milner, executive director of Community Concerns Inc., the non-profit organization in downtown Atlanta geared to the needs of the homeless, spoke on behalf of the church.
"Zion Hill has been one of our most valuable allies in the fight against poverty. We appreciate their efforts by sending volunteers and financial support to our programs that serve the homeless," he said. "Members of Zion Hill participate in the Sunday morning breakfast services that we offer — actually preparing and serving meals. We are also grateful to have their members do outreach to Odyssey Villas, our apartment complex for formerly homeless families. Without the support of churches like Zion Hill and concerned citizens, we would not be able to operate and carry out our mission to the extent that we have."
For more information about Outreach Ministry Sunday, weekly worship experiences, ongoing learning and service opportunities at Zion Hill Baptist Church call 404-691-8025, go to www.zionhill.org or see the community bulletin at www.11alive.com.