This week’s Montage Monday is not just one photo. It’s a series of photos from the Vatican where, by happenstance, I heard the pope speak!
My mother and I were taking a second stab at trying to see the Vatican on our last day in Italy. We went through the museum and the Sistine Chapel and headed to our last stop of the day at St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, St. Peter’s Square was entirely blocked off. Confused as to why the crowds were so heavy, we asked around. It turns out that the Pope would be speaking for a Catholic youth conference that evening, and no one would be allowed in St. Peter’s for the remainder of the day while they set up on the square. We were pretty bummed, but after hearing the Pope would be speaking we thought that might be a pretty neat replacement. All of the youth groups blocking the street around the square had tickets in hand, but my mom and I decided to wait around and see what happened. After an hour or so, security opened to let people onto the square. We were never asked for tickets (though security thought my mother had a knife in her purse which I thought was funny), and we were one of the first in so we got some of the closest public seating right on an aisle.
I think we waited another two hours or so after getting our seats, but eventually the pope paraded through in his little car and with the enormous number of crowds and cheers, it was a magical moment. I’m not even Catholic, but I found it to be a very moving experience to be in the presence of the Pope. Of course, he spoke in Italian the entire time, so I didn’t understand a word, but it was a neat travel experience. When in Rome!