Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Starts Tuesday:
"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," reads a statement just sent to reporters by the Vatican Press Office. It adds that:
"A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave."
Our original post — "Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave":
Roman Catholic cardinals meeting at the Vatican are expected to vote Friday on just when to start their conclave that will lead to the selection of a successor to the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that the Vatican will likely announce the date in the early evening there, which would be early afternoon in the eastern U.S.
Reuters adds that Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters it's "likely" the conclave will start early next week. All 115 of the cardinals who are under the age of 80 (making them eligible to vote) are now in Rome.