Enveloped within Rome is the world's smallest country - Vatican City, officially called the Holy See. Any trip to Rome, especially if you're Catholic, would be incomplete without a visit to the home of the Pope. On Sunday morning, Aaron and I decided that we would celebrate Mass at St. Peter's cathedral. I have to say, this wasn't originally on our bucket list, but it should have been. The church itself if beautiful and it was so special to be able to attend Mass here.
We entered St. Peter's square from the side, where we had to pass through metal detectors before we could enter. From there, we made our way, along with the hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world up, to the entrance to the Basilica. We passed through one of the 3 designated Jubilee Year Holy Doors in Rome (which has a whole host of significance associated with it) and into the basilica. Aaron and I have been in many beautiful churches and cathedrals throughout Europe, but St. Peter's is honestly one of the most breathtaking. It's bright, which is unusual for many of the churches we've visited. The opulence could, by some, be deemed a waste (and, I can kind of see why there was a protestant reformation), but despite one's personal feelings on the matter, its hard to deny that St. Peter's is a beautiful church. There are statues, paintings, and carvings from many of the most famous artists in history.
We planned on attending the 10:30 mass. It was held behind the central alter and lining up began long before the mass. There were wooden barricades to keep people out of the area until 10:00, when they were opened to allow people to find a seat. We were able to find a place to sit that afforded us a spectacular view of the St. Peter's Cathedral. While the mass was not said by the Pope (one must obtain tickets beforehand for that), it was celebrated by no less than 25 or 30 (it was hard to count) priests, bishops, and cardinals. The whole mass was said in Latin (none of which I understood none), but the fact that we were able to celebrate Mass in the heart of the Catholic Church was definitely something we will never forget. Make sure to check mass times before your visit, and plan appropriately for finding a seat as they are limited.
And of course, we had to take a family picture after Mass.