Up bright and early. The Sister yesterday advised us to get to the “Catholic Pep Rally” by 7:00 am. Sister Mary Catherine said they give out WAY more tickets than there are seats. In her orientation she told us how to dress, “knees and shoulders covered and EVERYTHING in between”. Although I certainly feel one should dress conservatively out of respect, there are VERY FEW around me who feel this way. Case in point, the woman in black leggings you could see right through and a shirt that declared, “what the hell” with skulls adorning it. At least she was there…right…
So out the porta by 6:30, grabbed a delicious Italian breakfast and a taxi to Piazza San Pietro.
By 7:00 am quite a crowd was forming, they shuffled us through a few barricades, and by 8:00ish, I was in the front seating area….without a seat. At that point, I watched as people there for Holy experience acted….pretty unholy. My philosophy was that part of this adventure was for me to work on being more patient, so I just stood near an area with lots of seats (reserved for large groups from different parishes) thinking that I might get lucky. I figured if I did not, I was there in the right frame of mind and heart and He would know that.
But of course nothing could compare with when Pope Francesco entered the piazza. All united then. By that time, I had secured a seat. Never speaking more than “si, si, grazie” to anyone. I was seated a few chairs from a barrier when an Italian woman about my age, motioned for me to come over by the barrier. Again, “si, si, grazie.”
See…my forced patience benefited me! The shouts of “Papa! Papa!” were something I will never forget. He stopped his “Pope Mobile” right in front of me and kissed babies raised over the barrier for his precious blessing.
At the end of the audience, the same woman turned to me and gave me a Pope Francesco prayer card. Although I had just purchased several and they are now blessed, the one from her will be my favorite.