Many people travel to Rome with the hopes to see the Pope up close. But what it the best way to do so?Each week, the Pope has two events open to the public, Sundays Angelus prayer, which starts at 11:50 in the morning and last about 20 minutes,and Wednesdays general audience.
The group in charge of issuing tickets to the events is the Prefecture for the Pontifical Household. Though the tickets are always free, they must be reserved ahead of time.The Angelus, which takes place every Sunday and on Vatican holidays, there are no tickets necessary. The Pope steps out of the Papal Apartment window and gives a brief catechesis. He then prays the Angelus and offers a few remarks on the current events.
Meanwhile, general audiences begin at 10:30 in the morning. They take place at St. Peter's Square, but during rainy or winter days, it's moved to Paul VI Hall. Large groups are advised to let the Vatican know which parish, school or group they belong to, so that they can be announced before the audience.Pope Francis spends lots of time before the audience weaving in and out of St. Peter's Square to greet pilgrims, so arriving early is also recommended.
Pilgrims can also submit with their ticket requests a petition from their priest or some other explanation of what services they offer to the Church. The Pope, then, near the end of the audience will issue special greetings to those particular groups in the audience.
The Prefecture for the Pontifical Household also controls access to the liturgical celebrations lead by the Pope. Those events also need requests made well in advance, as well as request confirmations. These celebrations include the Christmas Mass or Holy Week events, which take place inside St. Peter's Basilica, so availability is highly limited.
Pope Francis, since his first day in office, has tried to stay close to pilgrims. Though it's relatively easy to get close to the Pope, pilgrims need to pay close attention. During the audiences, he walks by greeting and blessing those in attendance. During ceremonies, before the Mass, he silently walks up the Basilica to celebrate Mass. But once the liturgical ceremony is over, he boards his Popemobile and rides throughout the basilica to greet and bless pilgrims.
Prefecture for the Pontifical Household
Phone number: 011 39 06 6988 3017
Written requests (English and Italian):
S.E.R. Msgr. Georg Gaenswein
Prefettura della Casa Pontificia
00120 Città del Vaticano