(CNSNews.com) - At about 7:06 p.m. Roman time on Wednesday, the massive crowd gathered in the piazza in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican began jubilantly cheering as white smoke poured out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel where a conclave of Catholic Cardinals had just elected a new pope.
Shortly afterward, the bells starting ringing as the crowd--sometimes breaking into a chant of "viva papa"--waited for the new pontiff to be announced and to appear.
At about 7:30 p.m., two bands marched through the piazza accompanies by columns of Swiss guards. They proceeded up the steps of St. Peter's and then positioned themselves in front of the church beneath the balcony where the new pope was set to shortly appear.
During this time, according to Vatican radio, the new pope was donning the traditional white vestments of his new office in a place called the Room of Tears.
"Following that ritual, the new pope will move to the Pauline Chapel to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament," said Vatican radio. "Shortly after that, the senior cardinal deacon, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran will appear between the red curtains of the central balcony on St Peter’s Basilica to proclaim the famous Latin words ‘Habemus Papam’, revealing the identity of the new pontiff and the name that he has chosen.
"A moment later, the pope will come out onto that balcony to greet the crowds and to give his first 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing to the city of Rome and to the world," said Vatican radio.
When the white smoke first poured from the chimney rain was pouring on the crowd in the piazza. About 45 minutes later, before the new pope was announced, the rain stopped.
You can watch the event as it is streamed via live video on the Vatican website here.