When in Rome… have mass with the Pope.
JRM2 01 - 05 - 2010

CDuring the day our tour guide in Rome tells us that the Pope will be giving a blessing the second day we are in Rome and then he will make an appearance on the third day. The Catholics on the tour decided to go get blessed from the Pope the second day and come back to the Coliseum the next day. Most of us decide to visit and sketch the Coliseum and other places in the center of Rome while the weather is nice. From what we hear from those that go see the Pope, he came out of his top window and spoke for about 15 minutes. The third day it rains and the entire group visits the Vatican City and St. Peters in the morning. A large portion of us decide to climb St. Peter’s dome after our visit. The view is very impressive but the climb is not as difficult as Brunelleschie’s dome at the Duomo in Florence. That night a couple of us decide to go see the Pope “appearance” at 5 pm (we wanted to see the appearance instead of the blessing because we are not Catholic and think that this will be less formal). Tyler, Mellisa, and I thought it was going to be at the same window where he gave the blessing but it turns out that it iss at San Poalo Basilica (where Saint Paul is buried). We take the subway to the basilica and follow a man dressed in a religious-looking black robe that seems to know where he is going. He not only leads us to the basilica but also to a coach where all of the cardinals are getting off and going into the basilica. We follow the crowd to the entrance there are people selling Pope flags. There are police everywhere. Then we go through security and go into the basilica. It is packed and Swiss Guards tell us where to sit in the basilica. It turns out that the Pope only comes to this church once a year and this is a rare event. The frescos on the wall are of every pope and the picture of Benedict XVI is lit up. Around 5:30 the Pope and all the cardinals come down the aisle and lead an hour and a half mass led by the Pope in Italian. The Pope comes down the aisle and everyone cheers. He is about 10 feet away from us. As he passes us he stops and blesses a baby along the aisle. The three of us had little to no idea what was going on or where we were in the program. There was a full choir and lots of singing which I appreciated. It was nothing like what we expected but it is an experience I will never forget.

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