How to get tickets to the papal mass at the Vatican

Wednesday, 11 April 2012
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I was racking my brain when my mother suggested a religious pilgrimage. Since this is her first visit to the European continent, I wanted the trip to be special. What better place to celebrate Easter than the center of the Roman Catholic faith - The Vatican. Procuring the tickets to a papal mass at St Peter's was a bit of an enigma. For those who are interested, I thought I'll share my tips about attending a mass at the Vatican.

1.What should I do first?
Before you embark on a religious trip to the Vatican, do check the Pope's calendar before booking your flight or tickets. I made that silly mistake and the week we were in Rome, the Pope was in Cuba. Thankfully, we were still able to make it to the Palm Sunday service.

2.  How do I get tickets to the Wednesday Papal Audience?
You can get them via Church of Santa Susana. Please remember to request for tickets at least 3 weeks in advance.



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3. How do I get tickets to the papal mass?
All tickets are free. There seemed to be tour operators specializing in pilgrimages which charge for tickets or do not bother to get tickets at all, leaving their groups hanging behind the barrier at the services. To get tickets, simply fax your request to (011) 39 06 6988 5863. You can also write to: Archbishop James Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Vatican City 00120, Europe.

You will receive a reply directly from the Vatican to confirm that your request has been noted. There will be instructions to pick up your tickets from St Peter's Basilica. The Bronze door is located on the right colonnade (imagine St Peter's Square with a row of columns on your left and right as if you're being embraced). You will have to pass the x-ray machine and continue walking until you see the imposing Bronze door up the stairs with 2 Swiss guards. You will only be able to collect the tickets the day before.

The Suore Pallottine, a convent located a mere 5 minute walk from the main entrance of the Vatican offers accommodation AND will help you get tickets to any mass if you request them to do so.


4. How early should I arrive at St Peter's? 
If you want to get a good spot, be prepared to be there 2 hours before. Otherwise, pick a spot at either ends of the rows so you can at least catch a close up glimpse of the pope.


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The atmosphere was electrifying with many arriving from far flung countries in droves. It was actually heartening to see many youngsters in the crowd of thousands, some waving their flags enthusiastically. The mass was conducted in Italian, Latin, English, French, German and Spanish. How wonderful was that? Thankfully, the weather was slightly cloudy so we didn't have to stand under blistering heat nor freezing cold. I have never seen more dog collars nor nun habits in my life all congregated within the vicinity of the Vatican.

What made it even more special was that we met a lovely Canadian who graciously invited my mother (I couldn't bear the thought of getting up at 6am) to a special mass held at a small chapel near the tomb of St Peter. You're allowed to go down to the tomb by appointment only. Thank you, Sheena!


22 comments:

  1. You are blowing me away with all these amazing photos! These images are so incredibly beautiful. Thanks for taking the time out of your vacation to share with us. What an awesome experience and thanks for all the deets!

    xxTheresa

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    1. Thank you, Theresa. It's so kind of you to say so.

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  2. oh dear i love these pictures!!! amazing so clear and so real!!! i'm sure you had great time this time!!! hopefully next time i visit rome i can see pope!!!

    xoxo,M
    Haus of Gala

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    1. I'm sure you'll get the chance to see the pope soon. Hope we get to meet up on my next visi.

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  3. How awesome, I'd love to go to a Papal Mass at the Vatican one day. My in-laws went to Easter Vigil at the Vatican a few years ago, they said it was amazing.

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    1. It's definitely a once in a lifetime experience for those of us who live a long way away from Italy.

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  4. The photo's are amazing! I still can't believe you were there! Such a thoughtful gift and surprise for your Mum. I'll keep tracking your travels online :) I'm living through you at the moment...

    xx Mandi
    www.findmeamuse.com

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    1. Hi Mandi, I'm still holding you to your promise about Paris ;) Gosh, it's hard to lose weight in Italy even with all the walking that we'd done. The food!! Gelato!!

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  5. Wow! That sounds like an amazing experience. I didn't know you could get tickets!

    http://www.lyzhang.com

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    1. Ly, I think most people don't realize it's actually really easy to get tickets nor do they know it's free.

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  6. Nice..I will be visiting Rome as part of my London-Paris-Rome trip in early May. Did you book a package tour/land tour/on your own? How easy is it to move about Rome on your own?

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    1. Hi Cecilia, It's actually quite easy to get around considering the fact that I have zero sense of direction. I don't do tours as it's hard to keep up with their schedule which offers little flexibility especially with a little one. I've also downloaded Rome2go app on my iPhone which also offers free online GPS map. Grab a map of Rome from your accommodation and you'll be just fine.

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  7. Wow, you got so close! These are amazing pictures. Thank you for all the detailed tips as well :)

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  8. Beautiful pictures. I have had the pleasure of attending two masses with Pope. It's an amazing experience. Glad you and your family got to experience it as well.
    Best, M.

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  9. This was so interesting to read about! I've always wanted to go - last time all we managed at the Vatican was to send postcards to ourselves :) Love this post!

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  10. Fascinating and your photos are amazing - thank you for sharing! The only time I went to Rome I got my wallet stolen on the metro on the way to the Vatican but I was just blown away by the scale of the whole place. I plan to go there again with the children this time.

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  11. Your pics bring everything to life! Can't wait to visit Rome! We were in New York for Easter week - a totally different experience!

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  12. I've just discovered your blog. I've gone back and read many posts from the last year.i LOVE your blog! Everything is great, especially the outfit posts. Please keep up everything!

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  13. I've just discovered your blog. I've gone back and read many posts from the last year.i LOVE your blog! Everything is great, especially the outfit posts. Please keep up everything!

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    1. Bec, thank you so much for taking the time to write. It's readers like yourself that continue to motivate me to blog. Thank you.

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  14. Amazing shots! Thanks for the tips - am will definitely use these for the next time I'm over in Italy... Enjoy the rest of your trip (and feel free to keep the photos coming!)

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  15. Vatican is one place I have to go AGAIN (although I am not a Catholic).
    When I looked up at the ceiling artwork done by Michaelangelo at Sistine Chapel..my jaws dropped and hit the ground. I was in awe...

    My favourite image is God giving life to Adam. That image is so moving.

    Anyhoo..this is one place I hope to go back again someday :)

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