Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Pep Rally for the Pope

If you’ve ever traveled through Rome, you know that it is a necessity to hit the highlights like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and of course, Vatican City; however, how many of you would consider seeing the Pope to be one of the “necessary” elements of a Roman vacation?

Seeing as it is Holy Week and Easter is just a few days away, I thought it would be fitting to share with all of you the amazing opportunity my sister and I received while visiting Rome. The day my sister and I visited Vatican City, we were surrounded by tourists; all there to see either St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, or the Pope.

Before leaving on our trip, we realized that we would be in Rome on a Wednesday, which meant that if we could get the okay, we could have a chance to see and hear the Pope speak. Now, we are not Catholic; however, the opportunity to see Pope Benedict, well, that was something we were most definitely not going to pass up.

Due to the intense heat, the Pope opted to hold his weekly blessing indoors, which was quite nice considering the sweat that was already dripping off of me at that point. The line was long but surprisingly, security was quick; thus, our ability to get inside and get a seat quite fast. I felt like I was in a pep rally in high school. Crowds of people filed into this building, all ready and waiting to see the leader of the Catholic Church come and greet his followers and “fans.”

With my video camera in hand, I ordered my sister to snap pictures whenever I told her to. She is not one to take photos but I am. People began chanting, “Benedict Pope” over and over and it honestly began to feel like a concert, that the roof of the place might come off the second he stepped onto the stage area.

Swiss Guard

I looked around and saw the Swiss Guard standing by and couldn’t help but snicker at their jester-like appearances. Soon enough, Pope Benedict entered and the place went crazy! People were cheering and shouting his name…it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. As the various cardinals recognized specific groups that were present, the Pope showed his gratitude by raising his hands and bowing his head in thanks.

Providing a blessing in various languages, he finally presented his blessing in English. In complete awe, I aimed my video camera and sat back thinking, “I am actually here, in the presence of the Pope himself and I have him speaking on camera!” It was unreal. This man, who holds so much power in the Catholic Church, was speaking and I was lucky enough to be in his presence. There are so many people who are Catholic that would give their right arm to hear this man speak in person. It all became quite real right then that the reality of this entire trip was something that most people will never get to experience in their lifetimes.

I look at my parents and wonder if they will ever get the opportunity to travel abroad like that. Yes, we’ve been the Caribbean a plethora of times, but to go to Europe or Asia or Australia, will they ever get that chance. I hope so, because it is experiences like this one, seeing the Pope that is forever etched in my mind.

Have any of you ever seen or heard the Pope speak? What did you think?


a girl who dreams said...

That is so cool! I am Catholic myself and I didn't get the opportunity of seeing the Pope when I was in Rome.

Italy is awesome! I want to go back someday and backpack all around Europe!

Nicole said...

Well I tell ya, even though I'm not Catholic, I was floored at the opportunity to be able to see the Pope. It was an amazing experience and definitely something I will never forget.

I absolutely loved Italy and agree that someday I fully intend to travel through all of Europe :)

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