Today, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his final public address from his window overlooking the beautiful St. Peter's Square. I'm watching on television as the piazza begins to fill with crowds that want to be there for an historic moment.
But frankly, the pope and the upcoming conclave is second in my thoughts. My elderly mom has been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer near her liver, so I'm making plans to go back to Canada to be with her. Also, trying desperately to get back to some healthy state so I'm fit to travel.
Still, it has been part of my job to write about Pope Benedict's doings and what will happen with the conclave.
Benedict shocked the world when he announced on February 11 that he would resign the papacy on February 28.
Suggestions are flying that Benedict may speed up the timing of the conclave, since this is quite an unusual situation where the pope - for the first time in 600 years - was able to give notice that he is retiring from office. Before now, popes died on the job, so cardinals needed 15-20 days to arrive in Rome to begin conclave.
So the Vatican is rushing to make everything ready for the Sistine Chapel when it hosts one of the most important events in the Catholic Church: the election of a new pope.
A team of 40 Vatican workers, officially called the "Floreria" is carefully following the pattern set in April 2005 when cardinals last gathered beneath Michelangelo's masterpiece The Last Judgement on the altar wall of the chapel, and voted to choose Pope Benedict XVI.
Without knowing the precise date of the conclave, the team is racing against the clock to have every detail perfectly prepared for the 116 cardinals who will be shut up inside the fortress-like chapel until a new pope is found.
"Until the date of the conclave, we live from day to day," explains Paul Sagretti, deputy director of the Floreria, whose office is charged with organizing most major events inside the Vatican.
No detail is left to chance as the Floreria workers carefully follow photos taken from previous conclaves, so that everything is arranged inside the Sistine Chapel in precisely the same manner as in previous conclaves.
That will include 116 chairs made of cherry wood for the voting cardinals, with seating assigned by place cards bearing the papal coat of arms, and 12 wooden tables covered with beige cloth and burgundy satin.
Six tables are placed on the right side of the chapel and six on the left, arranged in two rows of different levels. A 13th table is placed at front of the chapel, before the altar, where an urn is placed to contain used ballots as well as a Bible.
A wooden platform has been built about 60 centimetres above the Sistine Chapel floor, covered with a beige fabric, so cardinals won't walk on the tiled floor of the chapel but instead are elevated to the level of the second step of the altar.
A velvet bag contains the ballots which each cardinal will draw come voting time.
Finally, two stoves have been connected inside the Sistine Chapel, so after a vote, ballots can be burned with a coloured chemical. The relatively rare white smoke indicates that the conclave of cardinals have reached a decision on who will head the Catholic Church.
Black smoke sends the signal that another vote must be taken.
According to Sagretti, recent conclaves have been much easier for the Floreria to organize than those in the past.
Until the 1970s, the Floreria also had to arrange all of the accommodations for the cardinals arriving from around the world.
Fortunately, with the construction of the residence of Santa Marta to house the cardinals, that task has been lessened.