Rome sweet home (4)- How do I get to see the Pope?
Even though I had scheduled this article way down on the list, I can sense from the number of mails that this, for obvious reasons, is number one on the list of most Catholics visiting the Vatican. So let’s just address the issue.
Besides certain public celebrations of the Eucharist for which you need a pass, the Holy Father also makes two public appearances each week if he is in the Vatican. It is advisable to check the Vatican website and check the Holy Father’s public schedules. Simply use the link http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/en/udienze_en.html
Once you are certain that the Holy Father is in the Vatican you have a choice of seeing him on a Sunday or Wednesday. Both these audiences are free so don’t get conned by anyone trying to sell you a ticket and trust me Rome is full of them, some masquerading as priests and nuns.
The most popular audience is the one held every Wednesday. In summer this is held in the Piazza (St Peters square) and in winter in the Paul VI Audience Hall also known as the Hall of the Pontifical Audiences which seats 6,300 people. Both experiences have a charm of their own.
In order to attend the Papal audience on Wednesday you need to write in or fax the Vatican requesting for tickets. As soon as you plan your trip to Rome (and I hope that’s at least two months in advance) you should contact the prefecture of the Pontifical household. Write to: Prefecture of the Papal Household, 00120 Vatican City State – Fax: +39 06 6988 5863. Before you write in download the form and indicate the date of the general audience or liturgical celebration (for mass), number of tickets required, name / group, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers.
Provided here is the link with the details and the form you need to download, simply fill and send. If you have special circumstances you should mention that too, for it might get you a yellow ticket permitting you to be seated in the podium area besides the Holy Father. If you are recently married in the last six months, you might even get to meet the Pope himself. You could write to the same address attaching your marriage certificate and letter from the parish priest. If you do get a response then you have to present yourself in your gown and suit. I have just applied for a couple and am now hoping we get a positive response. http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/en/biglietti_en.html
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