For the past week, the city has been nuts - more people than normal, tour buses all over the place, and tour groups - all with matching scarves and a leader holding an umbrella up in the air.
|I was at St. John Lateran on Saturday, and I've never seen it this crowded.|
|St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome (aka the Pope) getting into the spirit.|
I knew getting into St. Peter's Square was out of the question. On Saturday, people had started camping out around the Vatican. (Unfortunately, Rome had a thunderstorm and downpour yesterday evening.) And on the bus, a woman told me that the Square opened at 5:00am, and by 7:00am it and Via della Concilizatione (the street that goes into the Square) were totally full.
|Bro. Sean was in the Square Saturday and snapped this picture.|
|The Square and Via della Conciliazione at 6am (from the Vatican News).|
My only hope was to find a spot with a big screen tv. After scoping out some options and wrangling through the crowd, I found just what I was looking for. I was on Ponte degli Angeli, a bridge over the Tevere River, and off in the distance there was a jumbo screen. Not the most ideal of situations, but also not all that bad. I plopped myself next to some Polish nuns - seemed appropriate for the day.
|Making my way through the crowd.|
|On the Ponte degli Angeli (with Castel Sant'Angelo in the distance)|
|Believe it or not, the view was better than it looks.|
|And this view was nice.|
|It was almost like I was in the Square (sort of).|
One thing that impresses me at these big Vatican ordeals is the sound system. We had a great audio feed where we were. You could hear the Pope and the choir just fine. So, let's get ready to make some saints. (The pictures are a little small, but you'll think that you were there!)
|It rained for about 10 minutes.|
|Enter the Bishops|
|Seeing double - Francis and Benedict together.|
The canonization ritual is pretty simple. After singing the Litany of the Saints and the Veni Sancti Spiritus, the head of the Congregation of Saints asks the Pope to inscribe the names of the Beatified into the Book of the Saints. The Pope says yes, he'll do it. And that's that! (There's a little more pomp involved, but that's pretty much it.) Then relics are brought forth. Some blood of JPII was carried by a woman from Costa Rica who was cured through the pontiff's intercession.
|The head of the Congregation of Saints presents the Beatified to the Pope.|
|The Pope accepts.|
|Relics are brought forward.|
Several news agencies are calling this a historic day. Evidently, two former Popes haven't been canonized together since the Middle Ages. And to have two living Popes celebrate the mass, well, never happens. It was also special since I saw John Paul II when I was in Rome several years ago with my mom. So, even with the craziness of the city, it was a good morning. And, as always, it was good to carry all of you with me in spirit!
St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, pray for us!