19OCT 2016 (Wednesday). ROME – DUBAI. (Day 17)
A wake up call was made by Hotel Diana at 5:30AM and breakfast was to be served at 6:30AM. Luggage out from our rooms for a hotel check out. At 7:45AM we were supposed to leave the hotel and then drove to St. Peter’s Square to attend the General Papal Audience at 10AM.
But our breakfast was served at 7AM instead of 6:30AM. Therefore, we left the hotel at 8:15AM for St. Peter’s Square to attend Pope Francis’ general audience at 10AM. We arrived in St. Peter’s Square at 9:10AM. We entered St. Peter’s Square with some security checks. Then at 9:50AM, Pope Francis started to greet the audience of people from different parts of the world riding on his popemobile. Then afterwards, he gave his message.
So what is a Papal Audience? Papal Audience also called the General Audience, this is when the Holy Father addresses the crowd, usually in different languages. It’s not a Mass but the Pope gives a themed speech, followed by prayers, a homily, and some singing.
The General Audience is held (nearly) every Wednesday at 10 or 10:30am, when the Pope is in Rome. Most of the time, the Papal Audience is held in Saint Peter’s Square, which can accommodate around 80,000 people (not all sitting of course). If it is cold winter months, or if it’s raining hard, then the General Audience will be in Paul VI Audience Hall, which is to the left of Saint Peter’s Basilica as you face it. This space can only accommodate around 6000 people.
Tickets are required to attend any Papal Audience (which is not a Mass, but rather a
general audience). Of course, they are free and there may be other times you can see the Popes that do not require tickets.
The Pope may bless babies that people hold up for him (if you want him to bless yours, you need to get pretty close, which means getting there very early.)
At the end of the ceremony, the Pope will bless religious articles. If you have arrived in Rome with a rosary or bible or other object that you want to be blessed, bring it with you. Or, you can buy these objects in many places in Rome, especially around the Vatican, and certainly inside the Vatican gift shop.
The whole thing lasts around 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Then on this day (Wednesday, October 19, 2016), Papal Audience finished at 11AM. And of course, Pope Francis gave a message to us on that day. His message was about ‘feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,’ (see: vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20161019_udienza-generale.html).
Pope Francis greeted the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, particularly those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Malta, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Japan, the Philippines and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for us and our families, the Pope invoked upon all of us joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lastly Pope Francis’ thoughts went to young people, to the sick and to newlyweds. It is because on this day the liturgy commemorated St Paul of the Cross, priest and Founder of the Passionists. He said: “Dear young people, especially young adherents of the Festival of Diplomacy, may meditation on Jesus’ Passion teach you the greatness of his love for us; dear sick people, may you bear your cross in union with Christ so as to have relief at the hour of trial; and may you, dear newlyweds, devote time to prayer, so that your conjugal life may be a journey of Christian perfection.”
After the Papal Audience we had our lunch at a Filipino restaurant near St. Peter’s Square. But we first agreed as the meeting place and the time we should meet after lunch. And then we bought some pasalubong in a Filipino store also.
We had our Mass at 1:30PM presided by me. The venue of the Mass was in the Holy Spirit Church and then we went back to where the tour bus was parked. When all pilgrims were already inside the bus we were heading to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for an evening flight bound for Dubai for those who ended their pilgrimage on this day (18 days) and then to Manila. And also for an early evening flight to Paris for those who extended their pilgrimage for another nine days (18 + 9 days) just like me. On our arrival in Paris, we were fetched by a local tour guide and brought us to a hotel; check in and followed by a dinner.
We arrived in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport at around 3:15PM; waited to check in at 5PM. After checked in we proceeded to Gate D-03, the pre-departure area bound for Paris, France. Our departure time was at 8:10PM.
The plane was taxied at 8:10PM and took off at 8:30PM bound for Paris, France.
Our arrival time at Orly Quest Airport in
Paris, France was at 10:20PM and arrived in Mercure Hotel around 11:35PM and checked in. After hotel check in, we went out from the Mercure Hotel together with Fr. Estong Bendita, bought some food to eat and then slept.
For more pictures, please see this link: My facebook