Since we will be in Rome over Easter, we investigated whether it was possible to participate in a mass at the Vatican. Turns out, general audiences and liturgical masses conducted by the Pope are free and open to the public. Over Easter there are special masses:
- Thursday 2, Chrism Mass, at 9:30 am, in St Peter’s Basilica
- Friday 3, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, at 17.00, in St Peter’s Basilica
- Friday 3, Way of the Cross, at 21.15, in the Coliseum
- Saturday 4, Easter Vigil Mass, at 20.30,, in St Peter’s Basilica
- Sunday 5, Easter Sunday Mass, at 10.15 am, in St Peter’s Square
The Prefecture of the Papal Household is responsible for administering the tickets. Application involved downloading a form at their website and completing it precisely indicating:
- Date of the General audience or Liturgical celebration
- Number of tickets required
- Name / Group
- Mailing Address
- Telephone and Fax numbers
The form then has to be faxed over. Argh. Printers and faxes, how 1990s. My printer is at my parents’ place so it was straightforward. The problem was faxing. In the past we would have just used the fax at work, but we can’t do that anymore. And who faxes nowadays?!
I googled and found a few free online fax services. Some limit the number of pages; others only send to certain countries. I ended up using myfax which offered one free fax to 41 countries per 24hr period. We wanted to apply for all the masses so I split the applications into 2 faxes over 2 days.
That was about 3 weeks ago. We aren’t sure how we’d know if we are successful. The website said tickets are to be collected the day before at the Prefecture office but does it mean we automatically get tickets? There was nowhere to put our email and we’re sure if we called or faxed to enquire, no one will be able to help us (imagine thousands of people calling up to ask about the status of their application). Our plan is to go to the office once we get to Rome and hope that they have our names on a list or something like that.
Imagine my surprise when I received a letter in the post. I recognised the stamps—one had Pope Francis on it. A paper letter. Can’t remember the last time I got one. The first paragraph:
Perfect timing. This is an absolute blessing indeed.
We’ve seen the Pope’s Easter and Christmas masses and address on the news. This year, we’ll be there in person. How cool is that?