Today we had the thrill of attending a Papal Audience with Pope Francis (and, according to my ticket number for the General Audience, 24, 420 of our closest friends).
As we entered the Square, we made our way up toward the barricade because knowing how the motorcade goes, I wanted us to have an up close view of the Pope - so we waited at the barricade for several hours - talking and praying and meeting people from all over the world - until it was time. And we did see him up close! Some of our other pilgrims got some very good photos - this is the best one I could capture as I was too excited at seeing our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. What a blessing that he is the third pope that I've been able to see in person!
The thrill of seeing the Holy Father, the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ in person... It was certainly a great thrill for all our pilgrims!
If you'd like to read the Pope's homily at today's audience, click here... It was all about the word "Catholic" and what it truly means to be the Catholic Church.
Following a very long time standing in the general audience area, we headed to lunch. Following lunch we were off to the Vatican Museum where we met our guide for the afternoon, and went into the Vatican Museums, where we saw many statues - mostly from Imperial Rome - and many Sarcophagi. Then to the map room and the tapestry hall. The tapestry shown here depicts the election of a pope during a conclave - look at the surprised expression on the face of the "winner" - and the guy looking into the chalice for any remaining votes.
Then, our tour finally let us to the most famous place on earth - the Sistine Chapel. Because it is a chapel, and thus a holy place, you can take no photos there. So you'll have to manage with this "virtual tour" of the Sistine Chapel.
Another full day tomorrow! Starting with Mass in the catacombs and visits to the other 3 Papal Basilicas (St. Paul outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, and St. Mary Major).