Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Up front and center

I show up early for Easter Sunday mass. What's early? Try 8AM for a 10:30 mass. It didn't help I was out eating hotdogs and having beers literally the morning before. I had about 5 hours of sleep. But hey, I could sleep later. =) This was the Pope! The leader of the Roman Catholic Church with about 1 billion members!
Plus, it was the Pope's first Easter mass and I wasn't going to have sleep come in the way of witnessing history.

Thinking I was all early, I find that people are already in line. Hard core people I tell ya. And guess what. Chanting and Singing yet again. Simply amazes me. I felt like I was in a soccer game. It's freaking 8AM in the morning people! But yet, people seem so happy.

At this point I'm Mr. Social and I start chatting the couple behind me. (Traveling alone you have this hunger to speak to people.) They were an older couple from Dublin. We do the fun bit of exchanging stories and all that.

As you can see from my position in line, I probably will get decent seats. Yeah, I'm not in the front, but I'll probably do pretty well when they open the gates.
Then all of a sudden, a bunch of guards show up and move the steel gates around and move them in such a way that they are creating an entrance right in front of me!

5 min later. BAM! They open a gate right in front of me! You can't even believe what happens next. Everyone goes crazy and starts running towards the open seats! Pandemonium I tell ya! People get pushed, some people fall on the ground, people start sprinting and go crazy! Guards tell everyone to calm down. Its sad but this one lady tripped and fell because she was trying to run around a guy in a wheelchair!! Not joke! I'll admit, I chuckled a bit when it happened.

I made a run for it myself and I ended up with the seat you see below.

Anyway, once I find my seat its about 2.5 hours before the mass starts. Luckily I brought some breakfast. But what does one do for 2.5 hours anyway?

Trust me, it actually flew by. Why? Because for some odd reason, I got this reputation of being the photographer! People would come up to my area and take pics of St. Peter's with the Alter and everything and I just so happen to be standing on the aisle where people would stand. Thus, an easy target. I guess because when I did take the picture I would act all professional and kneel down, take my time, tell people to move to the left and right just so I could frame it right. Then one of the guards would point to me everytime they would ask him to take a picture!

Anyway, the mass was beautiful and I got great shots. Including one of the Pope below:

I got to hear his message from the Papal Balcony with his Easter "Urbi et Orbi" or "To the City and To the World" Speech and of course the Pope's blessing.

Below is also a glimpse of all the people behind me:

Overall a great experience and something I'll never forget. That and I experienced my "April Fool's" joke. A story best left to be told in person. =)


roy said...

Hey! How come he's not wearing the pointy hat? When does he wear the hat anyway? I want to see pics of him in the pointy hat!

Great story!

ct said...

Wow! I wish I was there! Lucky seat! But hey, in that picture of the crowd behind you, it looks like there's a priest in front with his back turned. ???

ExPat in London said...

Good observation ct. Now what point in the mass would a priest be in a crowd like that? =)

kristine said...

that would probably be communion, right? Sweet pics. Luuuuuuucky. *napoleon dynamite*

ct said...

expat: To answer your question - there is no point in the mass that the priest ends up in a crowd -- the crowd goes to the priest. ("I see!" said the blind man to the deaf man.)