Sunday, April 1, 2012

Christmas in Italy: Arriving in Rome

We started dreaming about spending Christmas in Italy last summer.  After doing a little research and discovering that it was possible to request tickets for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass with the Holy Father, we were hooked on the idea.  It remained a fun dream until October, when everything fell into place for Dan to take leave.  We went on the Vatican website and downloaded our application form for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.  Then, we said some prayers, went to the community center, and faxed the completed form to the Vatican! 

Then, we waited.  About a month later, as I shuffled through our stack of mail, I came across a letter from Vatican City!  We had three tickets reserved in our name!  It was absolutely thrilling! 

So, a month later when we arrived in Rome, our first order of business was to walk to Saint Peter's Basilica and pick up those tickets!  It was so exciting walking through the busy streets of Rome.  We arrived in the evening, and the whole city seemed alive and lit up with people and activity.  We felt the excitement welling up inside of us; Rome truly was the climax of our trip. 

We walked as quickly as we could to reach our destination.  I had been to Rome in high school, and was eager to see the magnificent Saint Peter's Basilica again.  Dan had never been, so I was eager to join him as he experienced it for the first time. 

When we reached the Basilica, emotion welled up inside of me.  As a Catholic, it feels like coming home.  The grandeur of Saint Peter's Basilica is absolutely breathtaking, lifting your spirit up to Almighty God.  We're here.  I just wanted to soak it all in for as long as possible.  Our dream was being realized.  Dan got the chills when he looked upon St. Peter's for the first time.

After waiting in line and going through security, we made it to the side bronze doors.  Here, the Swiss Guards stood at attention.  We showed our letter from the Vatican to the security guards, who then allowed Dan to go up the stairs and show it to the Swiss Guards, who then let him disappear into the long hall as Peter and I waited anxiously.  In a few minutes, he reemerged, with a big smile on his face and an envelope in his hand. 

Inside of the envelope was our three tickets for Christmas Eve Mass.  We peered at our little treasures in disbelief and excitement.  We were one step closer!

After picking up our tickets, we explored the inside of the Basilica.  The interior is just as incredible and grand as the exterior.  One feels so small inside of its massive walls and beneath its grand beauty.  It is truly an unforgettable feeling. 

There is something magical about Saint Peter's Basilica at night.  It is my favorite time to visit.  It is so peaceful and still, yet so awe-inspiring.  

No comments:

Post a Comment