Forget the tickets, just go

Filed in Gather Travel Essential by on December 12, 2008 0 Comments

Dark suits for men; long skirts and sleeves for women — on a warm day, not such a good idea. The Vatican website suggested that for an audience with the Pope we should dress modestly so Bill and I did, but did the others? How much dark do you see? What about those bare arms?

We arrived an hour early, passed through security and found seats. The Swiss Guard didn’t bother to look at the tickets we’d waited 3 hours for the day before. We didn’t know it then, but we were in for another long wait. Occasionally a prelate introduced groups from one country or another and a ripple of excitement whipped through the crowd, only to subside into silence and more waiting.



A great surge of clapping and cheering alerted us to the Holy Father’s arrival but were too far away to get a good view ourselves. As you can see, we had to stretch to catch a photo of him. Some jumped onto chairs, blocking others’ views. From our vantage point, the pope is the tiny white spec in the middle of the photo.



Bill’s telephoto lens captured this shot of the Holy Father on the dias, after which St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippian’s  ” I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead was read aloud in the varied languages of the many gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The prelate who read the epistle then introduced the groups that spoke those languages eliciting a great waving of flags and hats, loud song and ecstatic cheering.

Though our Italian is limited, Bill and I understood — almost as if we were participating in the first Pentecost when all those listening to the apostles heard them speaking in their own languages — as the Pope then followed with a very pastoral homily urging us to know Christ and to make Christ the center of our lives. we knowing Christ when, as the Pope also began to greet by name each of the hundreds of groups attending, we decided to leave early before the blessing? What I know is that I welcomed the movement from the sacred to the profane while watching a group of break dancers as they gyrated to pounding drums. Though not prayer in the sense we usually apply to this word, these young men celebrated the agility of the human body.

To see historic Rome cheaply and at your leisure, take the #110 open archeobus from Termini – an inexpensive way to tour all the important city sights. One ticket allows you to get off whenever you wish to tour a particular site and to get back on another #110 bus when you are ready to continue the tour. Don’t count on a tour description however. Every open air #110 bus included non functioning earphones. Bill and I finally gave up trying to find one that worked and simply enjoyed the ride and the sights.



The view is splendid at the top of the #110 bus, and from its lofty height I caught sight of Sister Clare Andre, the nun from my old monastery in New Jersey that I’d met the day before while waiting in line for our tickets to the Papal Audience. I yelled to her from the top of the bus but she didnÂ’t hear us. To read the earlier post telling of the amazing chance meeting, click here.


About the Author ()

I am a writer and a columnist living on the North Shore of Lake Superior. My first book, The Scent of God, was released by Counterpoint and was a Book Sense Notable in April 2006. That same year I was named a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors."

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