I’m not catholic and have only been to one other catholic mass in English..possibly in my life (Oxford). But one can not avoid getting legitimately excited over the Vatican at Easter. It is the capital for the Catholic church, the center of their system. It is the oven that makes that cookies…burnt, undercooked, or perfect ( okay…maybe that last one doesn’t make sense. It does, sorta, if your baking)
Frank Pagani (useful last name for the trip) God bless him, wrote to the Vatican some weeks ago to get our group tickets (free..but recommended to handle the incoming crowds) and then he stood in line to receive the tickets for the group. (they didn’t even check them when we arrived....gah)
Easter Sunday was the ONLY day it rained all week. And oh my, cats and dogs did it rain!
We got all dressed up..looking appropriate with knees and shoulders covered. And put on my rain coat (Frank looked too appalled when I had the hiking boots on with the dress pants, so I did have on my thick, low heels) everyone else fought the crowd with umbrellas. The single advantage to the crowd was that one persons umbrella ended up covering like THREE people. ..the forth got stuck with the offshoot water dripping down their collar or forhead. (it provided amusement). Line for a couple hours..the closer to the front, the closer you were pushed against the people around you. Some of us got to be good friends with the people we knew, or the stranger whose shoulder your nose was next to, and the lady behind me who kept me warm by being frequently jostled against me by the crowd.
Once in (only one person fainted near us, and I nearly trashed the stroller a cranky dad was pushing while the mom carried the fussy kid) through security…confronted by an ocean of people, with their multi colored umbrellas held at varying heights. The Pope was in front of San Pietro (st. peter) with a canopy, a gigantic plush chair, trees and yellow flowers in an arch around the front..and serious people dressed in capes, hats, and assorted formal church wear. It proceeded in Italian, with some latin. (or was it vica versa) I discovered that if you crouch down a little, or bend forward, you could peer up through the umbrellas to get a less obstructed view of one of the giant screens they had set up, filming close of shots, and panning wide of the area. We left at the passing of the peace. (an hour in) it was one of the few times I knew precisely what was happening and was pretty cool. left mostly to beat the crowds, but also because I got separated from everyone and got a text saying they were waiting for me outside. Even though I was FINE..but it was sweet to be remembered.
That afternoon we did a group easter egg hunt around our floor of the convent. Brilliant discovery of divine peachy ring Italian version. Also best chocolate found in eggs..EVER. It made me miss home a little. I know I missed my church (HZUMC) a lot more too. Not that the catholic mass wasn’t meaningful. But it was not the same joyful, loving celebration surrounded by friends and “family” that I am blessed to have when at HZ. (spoiled rotton I am by those people. They love-th me)
Dinner was prepared by Kristin and Dr. Szabo!!!!!! With the table set all nicely with tulips of pink and yellow, paper plates and napkins, chocolate bunnies and smarties at each place J. They DO love us!! Lamb in some awesome sauce, vegetables, and fruit salad for dinner. With meringue and chocolate cheesecake (not set exactly right, but still greaaaaat!) for a molto deliciouso dessert!!!!!!!!
Being around those friends, brought together by our studies was rather awesome. Not the same as being home at all. But certainly with much affection, love, care, and appreciation of one another J