Thursday, October 2, 2008

Papal audience

I distinctly remember this day, October 2, last year. I was in Rome, spending my last few days in Italy with friends and with the sole intention of attending a Papal audience. A Papal audience, for those who want to know, is the time when the Pope meets Catholic pilgrims in Rome.

I had been in Rome two years back, but I didn't know that audiences are held on Wednesdays so between catching my plane back to Spain and staying to see the Pope, I chose the former. Now many people think I'm overly religious (I think I'm not) but I am fascinated with the Catholic faith and Rome on a Wednesday teems with it. Besides, it's one of those events you could look back to when you're old and grimy and say to yourself, proudly, "I was there."


So on this fateful day of October last year, I was so eager to spend my Wednesday in Rome and be in the audience... But there's just one teensy-weensy problem: I DIDN'T HAVE A TICKET! I had tried talking to some Filipino nuns in Valladolid, Spain before going to Italy and they referred me to a Filipino priest who was supposed to be in the same audience. I waited for the (insert expletive here, ehehe) priest for about one hour and a half but he didn't show up.

It was nearly the start of the audience so I shifted to my Plan B, devised about 10 hours before the actual event. I went to the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See, just a few meters away from St. Peter's (it's probably the Embassy closest to the main square) and asked for tickets. I did get tickets (plural, since I got three just in case two forlorn souls had the same problem as I did) and went in, sat in a place that seemed faraway from all the action since people had wolfed all good seats by then while I was outside waiting for the (insert expletive here, ehehe) priest for about one hour and a half (have I told you this bit yet?). As I was fretting over not being able to see the Pope -- lo and behold! -- he came out right next to where I was seated. Talk about divine justice.

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