VATICAN CITY - The first day of voting for a new pope began with a mass at St. Peter's Basilica and ended with the classic puff of black smoke signaling that no pope was chosen on the first day.
The morning began with a mass rich in ritual at St. Peter’s, asking God to guide the red-robed princes of the church in the election.
Those who didn't get into the ticketed event watched outside.
Anna Misleh from Cheverly, Md., is studying in Rome with friends.
“The three of us were in class and we asked the professor to end class early so we could run over here in time to see the smoke,” she says.
Tuesday afternoon, the 115 cardinal electors processed into the Sistine Chapel, where each took a solemn oath and then started secret deliberations and voting.
Georgetown University's Father Tom Reese says with no frontrunners, this conclave could last awhile.
“We haven't have one over five days since 1831 if they go a week, they're in big trouble,” he says.
The same rain Cardinal Timothy Dolan Tuesday called a signal the "Holy Spirit was coming upon us" turned to thunderstorms - even hail. It was a reminder, perhaps of gray scandals still hitting the Vatican.
On Tuesday, anti-mafia squads conducted raids in Cardinal Angelo Scola's Milan Diocese - a corruption probe involving Scola's childhood friend.
Protesters calling for female priests launched pink smoke and clergy abuse activists again said the cardinals and pope must be held accountable.
“It goes all the way to the top,” says Barbara Dorris of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests.
But the overwhelming mood is still one of excitement and anticipation.
What happens now, since no pope was chosen Tuesday, is they'll vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon until one man gets the required 2/3 majority - 77 votes in this case - to become the 266th pope, leader of the Roman Catholic Church.