From Cunningham Square to St. Peter’s Square

From Cunningham Square to St. Peter’s Square

Posted by: on April 8, 2015   |Comments (0)|Study Abroad

“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

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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.

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“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

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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.

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“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

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 “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
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 “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 Mahder
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GO FRIARS!

“Seeing Pope Francis in such close proximity today at the Papal Audience has been one of the most exciting experiences... MORE

The Pope Francis Effect

Posted by: on September 24, 2013   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

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Recently, we have been learning about the apostolic foundations of the Church and the New Testament.  The Gospels that we have been studying these past weeks all have their roots in the preaching of the apostles.  Their witness, oral testimonies, and martyrdoms are the earliest legacy of the Church we know today.  And studying in Rome gives us the chance to get to know the two “chief apostles”, Peter and Paul, in a special way. 

 

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One of the earliest titles for the Bishop of Rome is “the successor of Peter and Paul”.  This early title is a concrete expression of the spiritual presence of these two apostles who “founded” the Church at Rome by the word of their testimony and the shedding of their blood.  The current successor to Peter and Paul, is, of course, the beloved Pope Francis.  All sorts of attendance records at papal events have been broken through his popularity – especially among the Italians themselves.  His direct, simple, language and down-to-earth gestures and examples have inspired tens of thousands to flock to his Wednesday Audiences, Sunday Angelus, and other outdoor functions. 

Last week, a delegation of Providence College students were among the huge crowd for the Wednesday Audience20130924-152140.jpg

 

 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.  Our P.C. delegation got up early so that they could get seats near the aisle where his Popemobile would pass. 

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 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.  

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 Here are some their reflections and impressions:

Lauren McNulty (’15)

“It was amazing that we were able to attend the Papal Audience this week. We knew we wanted barrier seats, so we could be close to the Pope when he came around, and that we did- in addition to being in the 7th row. Seeing him and hearing what he had to say was not only relatable, but inspiring. I find it very fitting that Pope Benedict XVI declared the “Year of Faith” before he announced his retirement, and Pope Francis was definitely the right person to replace him, especially at the right time. His efforts to engage the world and welcome others back into the church have been inspirational, and hearing his words live from him make that very evident. It was amazing to see St. Peters Square packed with pilgrims, visitors, etc. to listen to him speak. The crowd was excited and lively, and it was great to see that much excitement over the Pope in person. It was truly an amazing experience.”
 
Joseph Day (’15) even delivered a letter to the Pope! 
 
 “St. Peter’s was filled with pilgrims from all over the world, all brimming with an excitement and joy that Pope Francis mirrored.  He was all smiles as he waved to the crowds and kissed innumerable babies.  We were right up against the barrier, just a few feet from him when he passed by.  He looked at us and smiled at us.  I was able to give, through a one of his guards, a letter that I’d written him.  It was a moment of so much joy for us and for everyone there.  It reminded me again of how the Church is a place of joy.”

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Dan Gagnon (’15) was impressed by the universality of the Church present:

“The Papal audience was one of the best experiences I’ve had since being in Rome. We arrived very early and got seats in the front corner of the audience so that we would be able to be close to the action. Hearing the priests translate the Pope’s speech into so many different languages was a definite reminder of how people came from so many countries just to be present there at St. Peter’s.”
 
 

Go Friars!

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      Recently, we have been learning about the apostolic foundations of the Church and the New Testament.  The... MORE