Monday, September 19, 2016

Trip to Rome (Pt 1): the Happiest Pilgrim of Them All

With the promise of a ticket to attend the saint-making of one of the most vocal advocates for the world's poorest and most forgotten... this Pope, 

during this Jubilee Year...

Yeah, you bet I wanted to be there.

The first view of St. Peter's Square, all set up for the big event to which anywhere from half a million to two million were expected to show up, was indescribable.  

There is a tapestry of Mother Teresa's image there, above the crucifix

It is huge
I had a few hours to kill before the festivities got started so I joined the line to climb to the top of the dome.  It is very, very high up there. Over 500 stairs. 

Okay, now this place is HUGE.  It could probably fit 5 French cathedrals
in the front part alone...

This photo is not crooked, the sloped wall on the left is the inner layer of the dome:

It was a tight fit, and extremely crowded and hot. A bunch of other folks had the
 same idea, it turns out...

Views from the top:

Hey, I'm going to be down there tomorrow and the next day.  With like,
a million or two other people!

On the roof, I paused to take some photos and found the happiest pilgrim of them all: it was a young mentally disabled man, maybe close to 20 years old, from Ireland. He was with his father and they were posing for photos. 
He had a big smile for the camera but was not able to keep it straight for more than a few seconds because he couldn't help but blurt over, repeatedly: "The VAT-ican! The VAT-ican!" Over and over and over again.

Yup. Right there with you, brother.