Posts Categorized: Italy 2013

Feb 12 2013

Ash Wednesday update

Papal Mass - St Peter's Basilica

Bill and I attending the Papal Mass last year at St Peter’s.

Here is a quick update on tomorrow.

After doing one leg of our pilgrimage tour this morning, it was time to head to St Peter’s. The media were everywhere. We did our Scavi tour (yes… the tour is so good we did it again!) and then ventured outside to go to the ‘bronze doors’ of the Vatican to pick up our tickets for the Ash Wednesday Mass at Santa Sabina.

The stone around that area of the colonnade is being repaired so we were pointed to another area.. this time to the secondary post office on the ‘other side’ of the normal Vatican post office. After lining up, we got our tickets. PHEW. We opened the envelope and they were indeed there. All ready for us to take part in such a special time with the Holy Father.

We then got on a bus and walked through the narrow streets to go to the US Bishops Office to pick up our general audience tickets. One of the nuns was doing an explanation of where to go tomorrow, especially with all of the crowds. She then said “Now – the Ash Wednesday Mass will be there so you can all start lining up early for that..!” Bill and I looked at each other and let her continue telling us all about it. Bill then waited before saying “You mentioned Mass at St Peter’s… what about Santa Sabina?” That is how we found out that at the last minute, the Vatican has changed the Ash Wednesday Mass from Santa Sabina (a tradition that Blessed Pope John Paul started) to St Peter’s seeing as it is Pope Benedict’s final Mass. 🙁 We are so blessed to be here and while it has been an emotional two days, we now are facing a very different Ash Wednesday than we thought.

As a result, we will still be attending the General Audience, but instead of coming back and getting changed into our good ‘Mass clothes’ (I bought over a whole separate outfit and heels for the Mass) we are just going to have to line up straight away for a chance to get into St Peter’s as our Santa Sabina tickets are no longer valid. With another predicted rainstorm tomorrow it is going to be long, soggy, emotional day. Throw in the usual fasting and… what a start to Lent!

It has definitely been an interesting time here – we love Rome so much we have even cancelled our side trip to Assisi and Orvieto on Thursday and Friday to spend more time here. It is just magical. Here, everything makes sense.

Feb 11 2013

Wednesday has taken a different turn…

On Wednesday, we had planned to attend the Papal Audience at St Peter’s and then, that evening, we had been granted tickets to Santa Sabina for the Papal Ash Wednesday Mass.

We felt so blessed for this opportunity – Santa Sabina is a small church and to get the chance to begin Lent with our Holy Father was just something that we couldn’t believe we would ever have the chance to attend.

Just over an hour ago, I was relaxing here in our room, Bill was taking a nap after breakfast when I saw the news of Pope Benedict’s decision to retire. My head is still spinning, we will be venturing out soon to go to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and everything feels different all of a sudden. It is a historic day and also the World Day of the Sick. For Pope Benedict to acknowledge his own frailty is an amazing gesture.

We don’t know what is going to happen on Wednesday but no doubt, it will be a day we will remember forever.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.