rome: papal audience

We got to see Pope Francis while we were in Rome! We went to the Wednesday morning papal audience (Jeff got us special tickets (it's free but you need a ticket to get through security)).

We got there approximately 3.5 hours early so we could get through the lines, security and into our "places" without any trouble. A few other people had the same idea. Approximately 99,995 other people, that is. It was IN.SANE. as we bottle-necked through security we began to wish we had stopped for our morning pastry and cappuccino (which we had skipped since we were running late for being "early.")

We found a good spot next to the edge (where the pope-mobile goes by) about 3 people in. Then we stood there for about 3 hours, packed in like sardines with Italians pushing, pushing, pushing us (as they are wont to do). I wanted to just let my legs go and nod off, letting the crowd hold me up, but it wasn't QUITE tight enough for that. I dedicated my time to not letting everyone push past us.

Luckily, it was pretty nice out until right before Pope Francis was supposed to come out, when a wall of dark clouds rolled in. At the first sprinkle of rain UP went ALL the umbrellas around us, and being a tall American, they were right at my eye level. I now dedicated my time to not getting an eye poked out.

He came out in the pope mobile and drove very close to us, then turned a corner disappearing again into the crowd. If I had thought that people were pushing before, it was nothing compared to when the pope came by. As a result a lot of my pictures are pretty blurry. Oh, well.

Then it started to pour. DOWN POUR. It continued to rain and rain and as everyone else huddled under umbrellas, Francis drove around and around refusing to be covered. Someone made a meme to illustrate the difference in styles of two leaders (I can't find the meme but I found the photos). The first two pictures were taken by Vatican News the day we were there so we might be somewhere in that umbrella'd crowd.

(photos by news.va and catholicvote)

We hadn't even brought an umbrella but some nice Italians next to us shared. You'd think 90,000+ umbrellas would make a nice ceiling to keep everyone dry, but really the umbrellas of all the other people around us just POURED rain down onto our shoulders.

(photo above by news.va )

Then as Francis went up to speak the clouds parted and out came the sun. You could almost hear the voices of angels singing...until the sun hit us and the heat began. It was HOT and we were soggy but by that point I had realized (or decided?) that I was really enjoying the experience, and an "experience" it truly was.

It was so beautiful to see the universal church in the flesh as people from all corners of the world  celebrated and huddled together under umbrellas and in the sunshine. Pope Francis gave a short address and a blessing. Fittingly he spoke about the Church, and it was beautiful to see it manifested there.

...The Church is born from the desire of God to call all people into communion with Him, to His friendship, and indeed, as His children, to partake of His own divine life. The very word “Church”, from the Greek ekklesia, means “convocation”.
God calls us, urges us to escape from individualism, [from] the tendency to withdraw into ourselves, and calls us – convokes us – to be a part of His family. This convocation has its origin in creation itself. God created us in order that we might live in a relationship of deep friendship with Him, and even when sin had broken this relationship with God, with others and with creation, God did not abandon us...
...Faith is a gift and an act that affects us personally, but God calls us to live our faith together, as a family: as the Church...
Full text here.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Wow, what an amazing experience!

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