“The papal audience was truly an unforgettable experience. Seeing Pope Francis up close and in person will surely be one of the best highlights of my semester abroad.” Brian Kossmann
Last week the P.C. in Rome program attended a Wednesday Papal Audience with Pope Francis. 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. Go Friars!
“The papal audience was incredible as it was an opportunity to see thousands of people come together in support of Papa Francesco, but more importantly in support of the Catholic Church as a whole. Also hearing them give PC a shoutout was really cool, especially being in the audience with my Dad, a former friar!” Lacey Sullivan
“Hearing the English announcer greet Providence College was such an exciting moment. I have to say, I truly felt blessed after today’s experience. As I left St. Peter’s Square, I once again reminded myself how lucky I am to be involved in this once in a life time adventure.” Gianna Luciano
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 mercy of God. The talk he gave to us was about wealth, power, and mercy. The Pope contrasted the worldly use of power with the power of God’s forgiveness and love. In the face of so many grave injustices in the world, the Pope exhorted us to consider the example of Jesus whose power is service. Should a Christian lose this dimension of service, power can transform into arrogance and become domination and oppression.
“I was so glad for the opportunity to finally see Pope Francis in person. Even from a distance I could see that all that was said about his faith, humility, and Christian nature was true.” Bryan Blum
“I didn’t have any expectations going into the audience but when the pope mobile drove past me my hands and legs started shaking and I was able to feel the significance of what I was experiencing. Overall I loved the papal audience and can’t wait to go again when my parents are in town.” Abby Chave
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.
“Seeing so many people from diverse cultures and backgrounds come together as Catholics to pray with the Pope was surreal. It really showed me the sheer strength of the Catholic faith, and the vast amount of people the religion encapsulates.” Matt Griffin
“I thought this was truly an incredible experience and one that I am thankful I got to be apart of. Seeing people come from all over the world to witness Pope Francis ride around in his Popemobile, kiss young children, and wave to others, and then give a short homily was something I will always remember.” Marco Scozzari
“Papa Francesco waving at me was the closest I’ll get to my 5 minutes of fame and I’m calling that a success.” Caragh Corcoran
“Seeing the pope and the environment he created was amazing. Seeing all walks of life gather in one place to support the pope and catholic religion was majestic.” Griffin Colpitts
“Watching people from so many different backgrounds come together at the Papal Audience to hear the same message was a uniting experience unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It proved to me that despite our cultural differences we truly are all one as children of God.” Mattie Matarazzo