“Seeing Pope Francis in such close proximity today at the Papal Audience has been one of the most exciting experiences during my semester abroad so far. The media always speaks about his compassion, and you could really see that today as he took the time to greet visitors from all over the world during his ride in the pope mobile around St. Peter’s Square.” – Kathleen McGinty
Recently the P.C. in Rome program attended a Wednesday Papal Audience. There were close to 40,000 people on hand to see Pope Francis, who was celebrating the two year anniversary of his election. Each semester I register Providence College in Rome as an official pilgrimage group so that we are recognized at the Audience we attend. And so we were thrilled to hear “Providence College” formally welcomed during the introduction when various pilgrim groups and visiting dignitaries were introduced at the beginning of the Audience.
“I really enjoyed my time at the Papal Audience yesterday morning. I thought the coolest part about it was all the babies that would be passed from hand to hand through the body guards so he would kiss them on the head and bless them. I really liked him driving by. It was unreal how close we were to him! I also thought it was interesting how everything was repeated so many different times by all the different languages. And it was also really cool to hear PC announced!” -Emily Rose
Attending a Wednesday Audience is a very unique experience. Although open to all, you do need a ticket if you want a seat. Tickets are free, but you must show up very early to get inside the Square since it’s open seating. The Audience begins with the Pope riding in his “Popemobile” around the Square to be close to the people. Pope Francis has the custom of making several passes through the Square so that as many people as possible can see him up close.
“I thought the papal audience was such a great experience. I am personally not Catholic, but being a Christian I could still appreciate and feel how powerful this experience was. It hit me while I was there that I will probably never see the Pope this “up close and personal” again.” -Becky McGuinness
The Audience consists of prayers, Bible readings, a short talk by the Pope, and then greetings and blessings to all who are present, in several languages. At the final Blessing, the Pope also blesses any medals, rosaries, or other mementos that those present have brought for his Blessing.
Pope Francis has recently been using his talks at the weekly audience to offer some catechesis on the family. The talk he gave us was about the role of grandparents and the elderly in the Christian community. He remarked that in our culture, it is not uncommon for the elderly to be “put aside” or neglected. He urged us to see our elders in the faith as providing a rich spiritual resource of wisdom, prayer, and even leadership.
“What struck me most about the papal audience was the emphasis that Pope Francis put on the influence that the elderly have on the young. I, personally, have been influenced greatly by my grandparents and they have instilled in me a great sense of faith through their own. I feel it is extremely important for the elderly to properly advise the young because their advice is invaluable. Prayer, as Pope Francis said, is vital for them to understand how to do so.” – Jack Gallo“The papal audience was such an amazing experience. I truthfully didn’t know what to expect before I got there. When the Pope came out in his “pope mobile” it was so wonderful to see that he went around the whole entire crowd so that he would be able to greet everyone that came out to see him, bless some of the objects people handed him, and kiss the babies that he saw in the crowd.” – Caitlin Lehane“Seeing the Pope, so close and in person, was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. Knowing that he lives so close to us and that his “house” is in our neighborhood made that experience unreal. I never thought that I would be able to be so close to the Pope before and I am so blessed that I was able to see him today!” – Kat MahderGO FRIARS!