During a tour of Italy with my friends Eric and Matt, I thought it would be a fun bonus to spot George Clooney or some of his celebrity friends visiting the area for his wedding. The end of our trip was approaching and no sightings had occurred. Today in Rome, we woke up early to attend the General Audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City. Tickets are free and first come, first serve. We secured spots in a standing-only section near an isle on a side not many people were aware of thanks to advice from one of the workers. Before the event began the Pope cruised down the isles in his uncovered Papamobile greeting and blessing attendees. When he passed by us no more than five feet away it was a very surreal moment. I attended Catholic schools growing up and never imagined I’d have an opportunity to see the Pope in person in my lifetime. It was a HUGE thrill! His address to the crowd was inspiring and surprisingly mixed with humor. Needless to say, seeing Pope Francis and hearing him speak trumped any possible sighting of Clooney.
Event Background: The General/Papal Audience is held in the morning on the first Wednesday of a month if the Pope is in Rome. The experience consists of the Pope sharing small teachings and readings mainly in Italian and in other languages depending on the groups visiting. At the end everyone says a prayer together and the Pope gives his Apostolic Blessing on the crowd.