One of the things on my bucket list for Rome was to go to mass at the Vatican. I decided to participate in the Vatican’s Palm Sunday mass on April 13th.
First, I had to find a ticket. You need a ticket for just about every event at the Vatican, and they go fast! With the Easter mass being out of tickets weeks ago, I did have much hope for a ticket. Instead of wasting my time with the Vatican office, I decided to do a little research online and found the Bishops’ Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican. I sent them an email asking for tickets to a mass that was only 5 days away and surprisingly they responded within a few hours saying they reserved me a ticket!
So that Friday before the mass I took the Metro to their office to pick-up my ticket, it was almost too easy! A quick 10 minute metro ride, a walk past the Trevi Fountain, a turn right and I was there!
After knowing how crowded Rome was becoming with the Easter holiday approaching I decided it would probably be best to get their early. Mass started at 9:30 and the doors opened at 7:30… so get there at 7am?
Yep, that’s what I did.
I left the residence at 6:45 and approached the Vatican surprised to see so many people already there! The line stretched down the street and around the corner… a line that I was not about to wait in.
Being alone I was able to casually stand next to a family who I’m guessing must have camped out there the night before because they were so close to the front of the line. It only got crazier after getting through security and getting into St. Peter’s Square. People were in full out sprints in hopes of getting a good seat to see the Pope.
Again, being a party of one really helped. I was able to take that awkward seat that two groups leave between each other IN THE SECOND ROW! Not only was I grateful I wouldn’t have to stand for the entire mass, but I actually had an awesome view!
I know the mass was outside, and I know you can’t expect much from a group of thousands… but I was still shocked to see the amount of people in jean and sweatshirts, smoking, and even talking on the phone during mass!
Although I didn’t understand much of it, the mass was beautiful and getting their two and a half hours early was definitely worth it.
I’m not quite sure I’m going to be able to take the palms I received back to the U.S. with me in one piece… maybe a few leaves if I’m lucky.
For future study abroad students, I would absolutely recommend getting to at least one event at the Vatican, whether it be a full mass on Sunday or the papal audience on Wednesday.
Even if it’s not for religious purposes, the entirety of an event at the Vatican is not something you want to miss.