Surviving a Papal Audience

Pope Francis, Vatican City
I scheduled Vatican City to take a day, but in reality it’s a great half-day venture without the museum. Every Wednesday and Sunday His Holiness addresses the crowd through a General Audience and formal mass respectively. It’s your best chance to see him if you’re interested.

The prefect only accepts requests by mail and fax. I decided mail seemed like the better option so I filled out the form online and mailed it in with a request for two General Audience tickets months ahead of time. I was a bit worried they wouldn’t respond since I was asking so early, but about five weeks later I received a letter confirming my tickets.

You have to get the tickets either the day before or morning of the event. Tuesday afternoon we made our way to the Vatican to pick up the tickets from a small office. With all the technology available it still makes me nervous to rely on a written letter and physical tickets. Still, there was no problem getting our tickets and we spent the evening exploring St. Peter’s Square.

The next morning we woke up early and went to the Vatican by 8:30am. The seats were starting to fill up, but we managed to get space without difficulty. No one really checked our tickets, but it looked like we got in before security picked up.

Soon Pope Francis came around on the Popemobile and gave a short speech in Italian. It was then summarized in French, English and Arabic. Pope Francis then addressed the crowd in Spanish. I was a bit disappointed he didn’t speak in other languages since he is fluent. His message was watered down in English compared to what he said in Spanish and the bits of Italian I picked up.

I brought several articles with me to be blessed by the Pope. He gave a general blessing and said we should consider them blessed by him, which was good enough for me.

The Audience lasted about an hour then I went to work on getting a souvenir for my mother. She’s a devout Catholic and not only did I buy her a scented (perfumed) rosary now-blessed by the Pope, she also wanted Holy Water.

First of all, check with current airline rules to see how much Holy Water you can bring. I found several exemptions for Zam Zam water, but not holy water.

We waited two hours for security to open the chapel. I decided to purchase a small container from the Vatican store and went to fill it up in the chapel. Security told me the area was closed until the late afternoon on Wednesdays because of the General Audience. Thankfully the guard offered to fill up the two containers I bought so we could get on with our day. Apparently Wednesdays and Sundays are the worst days to get holy water.

Make sure to take timing into account if you want holy water!
Surviving a Papal Audience Surviving a Papal Audience Reviewed by Brandon on July 18, 2017 Rating: 5

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