This morning we rose very early, grabbed a quick bite downstairs, and made our way to St. Peter’s for the general Audience with Pope Francis. It’s always a busy, fun day. I really enjoy watching my guests’ expressive faces when they see the Pope for the first time. I confess, I also get a kick out of seeing him, too. I’ve attended General Audiences with three Popes, so far: JP II, Benedict XVI, and Francis I. While the other thousands of spectators headed in to the Basilica or the Vatican Museums, we instead went off to find some lunch. I like eating at a particular restaurant down the Via della Conciliazione about two blocks from St. Peter’s Square.
We all met up in the Square and even ran into Archbishop Coakley and Fr. Fuller from back home who were on their way to meetings.
We headed to the Holy Stairs and Basilica of St. John Lateran. I never tire of St. John Lateran.
Next was a visit to St. Paul Outside the Walls. This huge, imposing Basilica, second only to St. Peter’s and one of the largest churches in the Christian world, contains an unusual gallery of papal portraits: 265 tablets portraying the popes of the past. We celebrated Mass here and returned to our hotel. Some elected to attend the evening Prayer Vigil for the Diaconate Candidates, while others took a nap or went out exploring. Everyone was on their own for dinner this evening.