Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday at the Vatican

On Holy Thursday back in 2010 I was lucky enough to be half around the world, and even luckier to be at the Vatican.  But what makes my tale even better is the fact that I was at the Vatican, in St. Peter's Basilica, listening to mass in Latin, led by Pope Benedict XVI.  How cool?!  I can hardly believe it myself.  But it was no easy task to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.  

A few of my study abroad travelers on our spring break trip to Italy, decided it was well worth an early morning during our 3 day Roman visit to try to go to mass at St. Peter's Basilica.  Plus, how many times can you go to mass at THE CHURCH that outranks all churches?  We transported to Vatican City and were waiting in line to enter the Basilica.  It didn't take us long to notice there were a lot of religious personnel there...not many lay people.  A little nervous and uncertain about our plan we nudge along in line.  Soon we realized they were asking for tickets...yeah we didn't have tickets or a clue how to get them.  Trying to find someone who could explain how they obtained a ticket, in English, wasn't easy.  Now worried and intimidated as the Swiss guards increased in number the closer we got, we figured right now is as good a time as any to break out in prayer and that maybe it'd reach God faster considering where we were.
Eventually the guard put his hand out for tickets.  trying to explain in a mix of English and Spanish, hoping some choice words would translate into Italian, they moved us aside.  Hoping the Holy Spirit would grace us with the ability to speak in their tongue, another guard approached...still a language barrier.  Finally another who could get the gist of our predicament approached us.  Clearly we must have looked innocent, with nervous energy bubbling.  Out pleas of only being in town for 2 days and badly wanting to celebrate Holy Thursday must have come across.  That and our pleas to God to not let us get arrested (ya never know) and allow us to participate in mass.  So the guard helped us bypass the others, and we were IN!   

With programs in Latin and Italian, as well as our own religious mass experience we were able to understand most of the mass.  It was unbelievable being surrounded by nuns, deacons, priests and a few other lucky fold.  We were seated in the back, but seated anywhere in St. Peter's was better than seated out in the square and watching the mass through a broadcast.  To be in the basilica when all the bishops and cardinals entered and the pope himself is
on my list of coolest experiences. There was something ultra special about celebrating a hold day, particularly a day before Christ would rise that was the icing on the cake.  
I'm so glad I sacrificed sleep and didn't wimp out when we didn't have the necessary credentials, I was very ready to high tail it right outta there at any moment.  But it all worked out and God answered our prayers.  I got to see the pope in person and attend the most renowned church in the world.  Pretty hard to top that Holy Thursday, but I got the pictures and most importantly the memories to relive it every chance I want.  

If you're ever traveling in Europe around this holy time plan on detouring to the Vatican and experience a mass at St. Peter's, it's such a great adventure and truly is unforgettable.

No comments:

Post a Comment