Rome analysis: In the first clear signal the pope may be serious about reform, Pope Francis decided he's not making definitive appointments to Vatican offices.
As the receptionist at Rome's headquarters of the Jesuit order was going about his business Friday, he got an unexpected phone call.
The man on the other end of the line said simply: "This is Pope Francis. May I speak to Fr. General?"
That's former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit himself and as of Wednesday night the bishop of Rome and global leader of the Roman Catholic church.
Rome dispatch: Cardinals who voted for Pope Francis in this week's conclave said they believe Francis is the right man for the job.
Rome analysis: It probably took the intersection of several currents in the College of Cardinals to carry Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy.
On Sunday March 10, as the cardinals fanned out across Rome to celebrate Mass at their titular churches -- those assigned to them in an ancient linkage with the Bishop of Rome -- Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer celebrated a mid-morning liturgy at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, a beautiful if comparatively small church with pews for 200 worshipers.
Twice that many media members surrounded the seating area, the camera operators angling to position their viewfinders as the cardinal preached his homily in Italian, reflecting on the Gospel parable of The Prodigal Son.
John Allen in Rome: Wednesday may be the "make or break" day for the papal candidates as conclave continues.
Rome dispatch: As the cardinals head into conclave to elect the next pope, a special Mass held Tuesday morning offered much pomp, but little direction.
John Allen in Rome: By now, we've all heard of several men who could become pope. But how did we arrive at that conclusion?
Now that my "Papabile of the Day" series is over, several readers have asked if there were cardinals who just missed the cut, meaning contenders I would have liked to profile if time had permitted, even if I regard them as long shots.
At one level, I'm tempted to say I would have liked to profile all 115 electors, so no matter what happens I can't possibly be wrong!
Seriously, however, there are a few plausible candidates I would have liked to get into the mix had not the clock run out.
Rome dispatch: Today, the cardinals focused on the rituals involved with conclave, including what the smoke announcing the new pope's election will look like.