.- When the white smoke rises from the Sistine Chapel to signal the next Pope’s election, Catholics in some cities can gather at local rally points organized in advance to show their support and love.
Rally founder Seth DeMoor said the new “Rally for the Pope” initiative is intended to show the world “that we stand with and support the new Pope and the teachings of the Church.”
“Rather than let the mainstream media tell our story for us, this is our chance when the whole world will be watching to tell our Catholic story with truth and charity,” DeMoor told CNA March 7.
DeMoor said the conclave helps reminds Catholics they are “privileged” to have “a direct link to Christ himself, through the faithful leaders over the 2,000 years of the Petrine ministry.”
The Papal conclave to elect the next Pontiff will begin March 12 and could last for several days.
When the next Pope is elected, Catholics can gather at the rally point, bringing poster board signs showing support for the new Pope, along with pictures of the new Pope, musical instruments, Vatican flags or banners and even yellow and white face paint in the colors of Vatican City.
“Rally for the Pope” is an initiative of the Colorado-based OneBillionStories.com, which DeMoor heads. That project tells Catholics’ personal stories of faith using streaming video.
DeMoor said the papal election is a chance for Catholics “to support the new Pope as we one billion Catholics attempt to re-propose the hope and truth of our faith to the masses.”
There are three U.S. cities where Catholics are beginning to organize rallies: Boston, Denver and Jackson, Miss. There is discussion about holding rallies to support the new Pope in the Philippines capital of Manila and in Lima, Peru.
DeMoor is appealing for volunteers to organize rallies in other cities as well.
“We need the lay faithful to take a stand during this unique moment in Church history,” he said.
The Denver rally will be held on Lincoln Avenue in front of the Colorado capitol at 4:30 p.m. the day the new Pope is elected. It will then move to the Marian Gardens neighboring the nearby Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Schedule permitting, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver will celebrate Mass for rally attendees and others at the cathedral one hour after the rally begins.
Prospective rally organizers in other cities are asked to contact [email protected]. They can have their rally listed on the initiative’s website.
Because it cannot be known in advance how long it will take for the conclave to choose a Pope, local organizers are being asked to announce a location and time of day, but not an actual date.
Organizers are being encouraged to contact local Catholic radio stations and newspapers and the secular media in advance.
DeMoor said the secular media “will be looking for anything to cover that has to do with the Church the day the new Pope is elected.”
He added that organizers should publicize their local event using social media. The event’s Twitter hashtag is “#RallyForThePope.”
“The more Twitter buzz that the hashtag receives, the better chance the faithful have of getting the media to cover the rallies around the world,” he said.
Organizers should also be aware of local laws governing large assemblies of people, he advised.
More information about the rally can be found at the website, rallyforthepope.com.