How to see the new pope in Rome

(NYT) So you’re off to Rome and in addition to seeing the Colosseum, you want to see the new pope. But how?

Your best bet is to attend a general audience (also known as a papal audience), a weekly gathering that the American Catholic Church in Rome says includes prayers, blessings and a homily. It is not a Mass but, rather, a chance to listen to the pope and mingle with other attendees. (The rocker Patti Smith was among the most recent visitors.)

Tours both old and new enable those now flocking to Rome for a glimpse of Pope Francis, who assumed the role last month, to get a seat at an audience. There are weeklong romps through the Eternal City that include tours of ancient Rome and Assisi. There are half-day excursions with transportation to and from your hotel. And there are no-frills affairs for those who simply want to be escorted into the audience from just beyond St. Peter’s Square.

Lasting about an hour and a half, audiences draw thousands of people and take place on Wednesday mornings in St. Peter’s Square or in the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall. (During the summer, the general audience may take place outside of Rome at Castel Gandolfo.) Tickets are free and you can get them yourself, but to ensure admission, you should request them weeks in advance (and then pick them up in person in Rome). [More]


The New York Times