Pasqua with the Pope

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Pope? Ever wanted to see him smile and wave from the Pope-Mobile in person?

How about going to a prayer service or Mass with Pope Francis?

Well, this past Easter, I was fortunate enough to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis himself!

My roommate and I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for Easter Mass. It wasn’t the earliest I’ve woken up here (early morning flights – enough said), but it’s definitely on the list. It was a bit weird to be up before the sun, but I got to watch the sunrise from Vatican City. And it would all be worth it to celebrate Mass with the Pope.

Fortunately, our host family lives relatively close to the Vatican. We left at about 6:45 a.m. and we were in line before 7:00 a.m. There was already a sizable line by the time we arrived, which continued to grow after we got our spots.

The wait wasn’t too bad. We were through two security checks and in our seats before 8:30 a.m.! We were very excited because we had seats in the front row of one of the seated sections, meaning we were close to the main aisle for communion and to see the Pope drive by afterwards.

Mass started at 10:00 a.m. with a procession and lots of singing. The Mass was almost entirely in Latin and Italian, so I was grateful for my years of Latin training. The Italian classes we took during our semester were also very helpful! Without those classes, I wouldn’t have been able to understand anything that Pope Francis said during his homily. (Confession: I still probably only understood about half, but I think that’s pretty good for a beginner!)

Mass went smoothly, although there was a brief rain shower right after the homily. No worries — that wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits (just our clothes).

The sun came out soon after and dried everything, which was quite helpful. Communion was a bit weird as there was very little order. However, that’s how most masses in Italy go, so I was prepared for the chaos.

Besides the homily, my favorite part was probably the music. I was expecting to hear some amazing musicians and the Vatican did not disappoint. The choristers blended beautifully and the musicians played practically perfectly. It really added something extra to an already beautiful ceremony.

Now for the coolest part: after the Mass was over, Pope Francis drove through St. Peter’s Square in the Pope Mobile! My roommate and I were so close that we got amazing photos and videos to commemorate our Easter in Rome.

I never thought that I would have had the chance to celebrate Easter at the Vatican, but I’m so glad that I studied abroad in Rome because it was a mass I’m not going to forget.

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