Have you ever wanted to meet or see the Pope?
How can I meet His Holiness the Pope? “I’m not a celebrity or VIP. Why would the Pope see me?” Though you might think that you have no possibility of having an audience, it’s possible. There are ways to make your dream come true.
The Apollo 11 astronauts and their wives at a papal audience by Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
Now, a 1-to-1 with the Pope is almost impossible if you are not a Cardinal, Head of State, member of the Pope’s staff or a celebrity the Pope really wants to meet. So, being allowed to be present in an audience with a bunch of other people is considered a “private audience.” Then there’s the “Business meetings”, reserved for administrative matters with those people who have such business with His Holiness. Pope Benedict XVI is said to avoid inviting visitors and pilgrims to his morning Mass as mush as John Paul II did, and he does also not hold as many “business” meetings as his predecessor did, either.
How to Get an Audience with the Pope
I am who I am, so how do I get an audience with the Pope?
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Audiences with the Pope are held just about every Wednesday morning. Check the Vatican website for regular updates. There are ways of getting free tickets, but you should begin the process well ahead of time. Letters accompanied by a bishop’s or priest’s recommendation often results in a ticket for a seating section closer to the pope. The best guarantee for a good place is to arrive early as you might get a seat near one of the aisles where the pope may pass.
- Arranging a Papal Audience by Telephone or by Letter. You can arrange an audience with the Pope through the Prefecture of the Pontifical House of the Vatican City: Tel: 011-39-06-698-83017. You can also write to Archbishop James Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Vatican City 00120, Europe. The requests also may be faxed to the archbishop’s office: (39-06) 6988-5863.
- Arranging a Papal Audience for US visitors. Santa Susanna, home of the American Catholic Church in Rome, help in acquiring tickets to Papal Masses and Papal Audiences. You could fill out a web form well in advance of your trip to Rome. They will try to get your tickets ready for pick up at the church the evening before the event. United States Visitors to the Vatican can send their ticket requests by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to the Bishops’ Office or fax them to (39-06) 679-1448. The office telephone number is: (39-06) 690-011.
- Commercial tour operators. There are commercial tour operators in Rome who provide the Vatican tour, book tickets for you and get you a seat at the audience. Here is an example.
Vatican Dress Code
How do I dress when I go to meet the Pope? How do you dress when this can be a once in a lifetime event for you?
Though the Papal Swiss guards wear very colourful uniforms, remember that Vatican dress code is rather formal. Absolutely no shorts, mini skirts, T-shirts or tank tops. Women’s shoulders must be covered.
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Papal Blessings are a rare privilege. Many people wish to get this beautiful document certifying that the Holy Father has bestowed his apostolic blessing as a gift for a wedding, birthday or occasion.
How to Address the Pope
How can I address the Pope? In case you actually get to speak to the pope, address him as “Your Holiness”. When writing to him, put “His Holiness the Pope” on the envelope and begin your letter with “Your Holiness” or “Most Holy Father”.
The Pope’s e-mail address is email@example.com