(CNN) - Unity. Faith. Peace. Support.
These words were common among the 20,000 messages received when CNN and mobile technology company Jana.com carried out a mobile phone survey in 11 countries asking Africans: What would be the impact of an African pope on the continent, or you?
The results provide a fascinating insight into faith on the continent, where Christianity is growing.
By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Allen Greene and Dan Rivers, CNN
Rome (CNN) - Black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday night, indicating that cardinals gathered at the Vatican to elect a new pope had not chosen one in the first ballot of their conclave.
The start of the secret election got underway earlier in the day, as the heavy wooden doors to the chapel swung closed on the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals charged with selecting the next pontiff.
The next round of voting will begin Wednesday morning. Results will be revealed by puffs of smoke from the chimney following each ballot.
Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.
On a day rich with symbolism, the scarlet-clad cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel in solemn procession, chanting prayers and watched over by the paintings of Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
By Kelly Marshall Smoot, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Hoping to enhance the conclave experience, some new apps and websites are using technology to bring a centuries-old, top-secret tradition of selecting the next pontiff – one that still relies on smoke signals – to Catholics and pope watchers around the world.
Logos Bible Software designed Conclave, a free app, and had a working prototype within 48 hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced he intended to resign.
"At first we thought we didn't have time for it, and then we decided to go for it," said Andrew Jones, director of Catholic products for Logos Bible Software, about the process of developing the app. "Never before has technology been so accessible for such a specific task. Generating a new piece of software this quickly, or customizing it for such a brief event, was previously unheard of."
By Sarah Brown, CNN
What are your thoughts on who the next Pope could, or should be? Tell us
(CNN) - Thousands of Africans have expressed their hopes that the next pope will be the first from their continent - with a majority believing it would mean the Catholic Church becoming more conservative.
The survey of 20,000 people, conducted on mobile phones across 11 nations, also exposed big divisions among Africans about the future direction of the church, including faith, homosexuality and race.
"An African pope will bring about more unity on the continent and confidence in Africans," said one woman from Zimbabwe, while a young Nigerian man polled said an African pope "will eradicate immoralities, such as same-sex marriage."
CNN commissioned the survey, partnering with Jana.com, which has pioneered polling in developing countries with fast-growing mobile networks.
Editor's note: Sebastian Gomes, a producer at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Canada, was an accredited observer to the Vatican Synod of Bishops in October. He is acting as an assistant to the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Holy See during the papal transition.
By Sebastian Gomes, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by resigning last month, but before leaving the throne of St. Peter vacant, he seems to have spent months, if not years, charting a course for the future of the Catholic Church.
In hindsight we see how calculated Benedict’s thinking was, and not only about his resignation.
He called an unexpected consistory to be held on November 24 in which he created six new cardinals, none of them coming from Europe.
Rome (CNN) - The conclave in numbers:
115: Number of cardinal electors in the conclave to elect the new pope
67: Number of cardinal electors appointed by Benedict XVI
48: Number of cardinal electors appointed by John Paul II
77: Number of votes to be elected pope (2/3 of 115, rounded up)
(CNN)–CNN's Chris Cuomo chats with two young New Yorkers who, despite sacrifices, are working to join priesthood.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.