Monday, April 13, 2009
EASTER SUNDAY IN ROME
Saturday, Sunday & Monday….April 11th, 12th, 13th, 2009
An overview of the slideshow:
St. Peter’s Saturday afternoon as they prepared for Sunday Morning
Photos as we waited for 3 hours to enter for the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s
Darkness inside of St. Peter’s Basilica …
Priests as they began the lighting of the Fire in the vestibule of St. Peter’s
View from darkness of St. Peter’s into the Vestibule
Our seats for Easter Vigil Mass; started at 9 pm…over 3 hours long
View of inside St. Peter’s after lights were turned on at the Gloria
View of large TV screen outside for those that had tickets but no seats
Our 8 am Easter morning Mass at church in the Baths of Diocletian near our Hostel
Lunch with Mary Frances, her friends and Father Jim
Monday morning at daybreak at St. Peter’s for private Mass
Mary reading during Mass in Pope’s tomb under St. Peter’s Main Altar
St. Veronica holding veil with stain of Jesus’ face above entrance to tombs
Saturday evening about six pm we got on the bus headed for Vatican City and our special opportunity to attend the Easter Vigil Mass inside of St. Peter’s Basilica. We arrived and found that the line was already across the front of the colonnades but fortunately daughter Mary Frances had arrived earlier and we were just in front of the obelisk in the center of the square. We enjoyed the company of several nuns and priests that Mary had met in line as we waited for several hours to enter. We were one of the fortunate ones as the line was twice as long when we started to enter and we were one of the last ones to obtain seats inside of St. Peters. The rest who had tickets but no seats inside were seated outside and watched the Mass on large television screens in the square.
We had to leave just before eleven pm in order to catch the bus back to our hostel but the whole experience was extremely moving. Close your eyes and imagine that you are in St. Peter’s in total darkness with the Pope chanting his Latin litanies. Amazing! Then suddenly as the Gloria is sung … the lights are all turned on at once and it’s brighter than the sun at midday! Hated to leave but knew it would be a very expensive and late taxi ride otherwise.
Sunday morning we were awake early and walked to several different churches near our hostel before finding an eight o’clock Easter morning Mass. It was nice to quietly sit and appreciate a simple Mass without distractions.
We then headed towards the bus and St. Peter’s Basilica; without entry tickets we were really not too sure what we could do but wanted to be there for the Pope’s noon blessing at the end of the outdoor Mass in the square. When we arrived we asked if we could enter the square without tickets and a very nice policewoman gave us two tickets to enter. By this time there were no seats left but we were in the square and by using cell phones actually found my daughter and her friends who had tickets for Mass in the square this morning. They’d overslept and didn’t get there early enough to get seats but we all stood together in front of the huge television screen and watched the very powerful scenes of Pope Benedict officiating at the High Mass outside in front of the Basilica. During the homily, Mary spread her raincoat and sat on the stones along with thousands of other people. The square was full and spilled into the wide street leading from Sant’ Angelo to the Vatican.
After the Pope’s blessing from the balcony above the main door of St. Peters; we met Father Jim, a college friend of Mary’s friends who has been studying in Rome for three years, and walked about twenty minutes to a delightful outdoor Italian Restaurant tucked into a small piazza. There he treated the whole group to a truly Italian meal that lasted for several hours.
Monday morning we were up at five thirty and headed for the Vatican for our last Mass in Rome. Father Jim arranged for us to have a private Mass in a small chapel in the tombs of the Popes under the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. My sister Mary was allowed to read the Responsorial Psalms during the Mass and I told Father Jim afterwards that the rest of our trip will be an “after thought” after this morning’s experience.
We are now in a resting mode as we spend our last day waiting for our overnight train to leave this evening. Tomorrow morning we will wake up in Dijon France. Ciao