Here we are in St. Peter’s Square! What a morning. We were told the audience wouldn’t begin until 10:30, so we thought we could sleep in a little — not so much. In order to get a seat, they recommended we arrive between 6:30 and 8:00 am. Everyone has to go through security, all 50,000 of us, so it was a little chaotic. Luckily, we got through without any problems and were in our seats by 8:30. Also luckily, it was an incredibly beautiful fall day. The sky was brilliant blue and the breeze had just a hint of chill in it. We were told to expect the world’s biggest Catholic pep rally, and that describes it pretty well. The mood was festive and everyone was having a good time.
Since we expected it all to begin at 10:30, we were surprised when they actually started around 9:45. I always thought things in Italy could be late, never that early! It started with announcements of all the groups that were there. Then, the Pope whizzed up and down the aisles in his suped-up golf cart. It wasn’t the same as the popemobile, but close. He stopped often to kiss babies and accept gifts from the crowd. At one point, he accepted a drink from the Argentinians in the crowd.
I have to say, it was surprise to see people passing their babies from one person to the next to get them to the Pope. We were told that if someone hands us a baby, don’t drop it! And pass it to the Pope or one of his guards. I was more concerned with passing the little ones back–how do you know who the mother is? It was charming to see the slightly older babies (around 1 year) screaming from the stranger anxiety and Pope Francis consoling them.
Okay, here’s the scoop that all our family and loved ones need to know. The Pope’s blessing that Bob and I received extends to you, too! (It even counts if you’re not Catholic!) That is especially true of any of you who are dealing with illness. So, consider yourselves blessed!
Below are a couple of pictures and I’m going to try and include a couple videos. I’ll explain them below.
Here he is! I didn’t even have to zoom in, we were actually this close to him. He was so cheerful, I can see why the world has fallen in love with him. We were certainly impressed. Being part of the papal audience is one of the highlights of my life. I’ll never forget it.
I just tried to upload the short movies of the Pope whizzing by and kissing babies, as well as the video of his blessing, but it won’t let me do it here. Instead, I uploaded them to youtube. Here’s the link to the Pope kissing babies:
Here’s the link of the Pope’s blessing:
In the mean time, here are some pictures of the place where we stopped for dinner. Everything was so beautiful and tasty!
This was a wrapped sandwich, almost like a pita or even a burrito. In Italy, the next closest thing might be a stromboli, if a stromboli wasn’t hot. It had sliced eggplant on top and looked incredible.
These are just some of the pizzas they had available. It is so weird to find sliced potatoes on a pizza. Another on the menu had sliced pumpkin.