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Rome Reports

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From John Paul II to Pope Francis: Texan family returns to General Audience after 18 years


Seeing the pope is one of the best events offered by the Eternal City. There are some families who do not let the occasion be forgotten and some who even repeat it.

Doris and her husband are veterans of the General Audience at the Vatican. They came to Rome in 2001, and saw John Paul II. Now they return to a General Audience 18 years later to see Pope Francis, this time with their grandchildren.

DORIS
“It was in the hall. I wanted to sit as close to the stage as possible to see him. I could have sat on that side, but I did not, I sat close to the stage. I wished I had to sit on the side because when he came into the building, he touched everybody. The whole building was electrified.” “We bring our grandchildren to Rome. These are the fifth grandchildren we brought, and the experience has been superb. This is the first time we got an audience with the pope.”

Their grandchildren, Sam and Natalie, despite being considerably less experienced than their grandparents, recount that the event has also been interesting. They have even met new people.

SAM
Sam. Who was on St. Peter Square?”

“The pope.”

“Who is the pope?”

NATALIE
“It's like... at first you don't think you're gonna get to be that close but then it's like really amazing.”

Time passes, yet the Eternal City remains. That's why the family photos here don't lose their charm.