The Vatican Press Office has announced that “The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.”
As NPR reports, from the Vatican announcement”
‘A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave.’
Questions about who is considered a “strong” candidate, and discussions about what region of the world the new Pope should come from – growth of Catholicism is much higher in Africa, for one often mentioned area – will no doubt continue as the Conclave begins.
(Apostolic Palaces Via SaintPetersBasilica.org)