Vatican press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., announced that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, March 12.
The first votes will be cast inside the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon, reported Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service.
The College of Cardinals decided on this date after the arrival of the last eligible voting cardinal. He is Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Man of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
Here’s how long past conclaves have lasted:
• Pope Benedict XVI: From the evening of April 18 to the afternoon of April 19, 2005, lasting less than a day and a half, three ballots.
• Pope John Paul II: From Oct. 14 to 16, 1978, two days, eight ballots.
• Pope John Paul I: From Aug. 25 to 26, 1978, two days, four ballots.
• Pope Paul VI: From June 19 to 21, 1963, three days, six ballots.
• Pope John XXIII: from Oct. 25 to 28, 1958, four days, 11 ballots.
• Pope Pius XII: From March 1 to 2, 1939, two days, three ballots.
• Pope Pius XI: From Feb. 2 to 6, 1922, five days, 14 ballots.
• Pope Benedict XV: From Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 1914, four days, 10 ballots.
• Pope Pius X: From July 31 to Aug. 4, 1903, four days, seven ballots.