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How To Get An Audience With The Pope

Updated on April 13, 2015

How I Got To Meet The Pope and How You Can See Him Too!

When the Pope is in residence at The Vatican, he holds an audience every Wednesday morning in either a large modern auditorium or in St. Peter's Square itself. This affords pilgrims, large groups, and tourists the chance to see and hear the Pope. Many faithful Catholics and others wait their whole lives just to get a glimpse of the Pope. Not only can you see the Pope up close and personal, but you can hear him address the audience with welcoming words and blessings.

In this lens, I share my Audience with the Pope photos and experiences along with tips on how you can get tickets to see the Pope as well.

NOTE - The Vatican has a strict dress code. Wear appropriate apparel for women and men. For example, no shorts or tank tops allowed and women's shoulders must be covered. Adhere to these rules or risk not being let in for your audience with the Pope!

Get A FREE Golden Ticket (or Green in this case)!

As you can imagine, tickets for the Papal Audience are hard to come by and you must apply well in advance of your arrival. If you are going in the summer months, plan on requesting tickets at least 2 months in advance and preferably longer if possible.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household coordinates the general and official audiences granted by Pope Benedict XVI. Therefore, you must apply in writing to the Papal Prefecture either by writing or faxing:

Prefecture of the Papal Household

00120 Vatican City State

Fax: +39 06 6988 5863

In your written request, be sure to include:

Date of the General audience you are requesting to be a part of

Number of tickets required

Name / Group

Mailing Address

Telephone and Fax numbers

My husband and I applied via fax in July for a date in September, we received a faxed letter a few weeks later from the Papal Prefecture indicating that our request was granted. It gave detailed instructions on when and where to pick-up our tickets once we arrived in Rome. Following the instructions, we went to the Bronze Door (Swiss Guards at entrance) on the right hand side of the Bernini colonnade to pick up the tickets. NOTE - it is not handicapped accessible so your helper would need to go up the stairs to retrieve the tickets. With our green tickets in hand, we were off to see the Pope.

Building Where Audiences With The Pope Are Held

Behind the left hand colonnade (if you are facing the front facade of St. Peter's Basilica), you'll find the modern auditorium where the general audiences with the Pope are conducted. The great thing about this building is that the acoustics are fantastic AND it is air-conditioned. If you are there in summer, you'll be thankful for the reprieve from the heat. In the past, some audiences were held in St. Peter's Square (see the video below).

Above are a photo of the building that my husband took when he climbed the dome of the Basilica. Below it is a photo from a professional photographer tasked with taking photos of our audience. You can see the auditorium is pretty large and it was packed! I estimate that it holds about 5,000 people.

Outdoor Audience With The Pope Video

Arrive Early To Get A Good Seat!

With all the international large groups, excited tourists, and faithful pilgrims, the auditorium fills up meaning the best places are occupied early. ARRIVE EARLY!! I'll say it again, get out of bed early and head straight to the auditorium. Even though the Pope doesn't enter until around 10:30 AM, you should get there at least a few hours in advance because security is very tight and a good seat makes the experience all that much better. Don't show up at 10 AM and expect to get a may end up in standing room only at the back of the auditorium.

Well I have to say that this was the one time in my life when being disabled actually paid off :) I have a nervous system condition that prevents me from standing for more than a few minutes. People in power scooters and wheel chairs get special front row, handicapped accessible seating so we were truly right in front of the Pope. It was amazing!

The Pope's Entrance & What Happens

We grabbed our seats and waited for the Pope to arrive with all the other people. The excitement in the auditorium was palpable. And when that left door opened and the Pope walked out, it was like he was a rock star. The entire place erupted with cheering and crying as he made his way across the stage to his chair. Once he reached the chair, he reached his arms out to the audience.

Catholic pilgrims and groups of nuns from all over the world attended our audience. Brazil, Nigeria, Australia and many more were represented. During the audience, a Cardinal or priest that spoke the native language recognized all the groups that spoke that same language listing what parish and country they were from. Many groups had prepared a song for the pope and others had cheers, but it was fascinating to see what the next group would do. There was a whole lot of crying going on too. You can see the photo below of our U.S. representative who was a young priest from Michigan. We actually got to speak to him and he was so gracious.

The Pope himself spoke a bit before all the Cardinals recognized the groups, but then he gave a much longer "speech" at the end where he said prayers in several languages.

The audience lasted about 2 hours (not including the arriving early part) so we headed out for lunch after we got to MEET THE POPE!!

Photos from Our Audience With Pope Benedict XVI

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pope Benedict XVI entering the auditoriumThe Pope Reaching Out To The FaithfulThe Pope in PrayerThe Pope Speaking To The AudienceThe U.S. Priest Welcoming English-Speaking GroupsThe Group of German Teens That Sat Behind UsThe Cardinals on Stage After The Event
Pope Benedict XVI entering the auditorium
Pope Benedict XVI entering the auditorium
The Pope Reaching Out To The Faithful
The Pope Reaching Out To The Faithful
The Pope in Prayer
The Pope in Prayer
The Pope Speaking To The Audience
The Pope Speaking To The Audience
The U.S. Priest Welcoming English-Speaking Groups
The U.S. Priest Welcoming English-Speaking Groups
The Group of German Teens That Sat Behind Us
The Group of German Teens That Sat Behind Us
The Cardinals on Stage After The Event
The Cardinals on Stage After The Event

My Husband and I Meet The Pope - The ONLY time being disabled has come in handy!

OK so my husband and I are escorted by an usher to our seats after we arrive at the auditorium and we are so excited to see that we have front row seats. Honestly, we didn't think it could get much better. Then about 10 minutes before the Pope came out on stage, one of the head ushers came by and told us to stick around after the audience concluded so that we could go up on stage. We were thinking OK - that sounds great, we'll get to see the audience and view of the entire building.

NOOOOO - he meant that he would be taking all of the disabled folks on stage to MEET the pope. When the usher came down after the audience had concluded to get the group of disabled people and rolled us up on stage while the Pope was handing out Papal Blessings to some Italian wedding couples holding hands (in their full tuxes and gowns), I was wondering what the heck was going on. Then, the disabled people in their wheelchairs were led one by one past the Pope's chair. Yep - that's right people. My husband and I got to meet Pope Benedict XVI. To this day, I can't really explain how surreal that moment is and was. Now that is one for the bucket list :)

Share Your Pope Experiences, Tips & Comments - I love to hear what my readers have to say!

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    • profile image

      RomeFan 3 years ago

      Wow, amazing. I wish I could have an audience with the Pope and kiss his hand as well like you did.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Nothing to compare with YOUR enviable experience, janices7!

    • profile image

      schtr4jh 4 years ago

      Here's some info about new Pope, Pope Francis: click =)

    • ManipledMutineer profile image

      ManipledMutineer 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens and story, I only hope I can do the same some day!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Amazing experience and very inspiring one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My son wants to altar serve for the pope...he has served 6 years now and has wanted to be a priest....since he was 4, he is 12 now. Any ideas.....he embraces and loves the faith and understands and respects the Pope. :)

    • cynthiannleighton profile image

      cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

      Wonderful! The pope was not available the weeks I was in Italy.

    • DonD LM profile image

      DonD LM 5 years ago

      Vatican is an ideal place for vacation and be able to see the amazing structures of their buildings. Excellent lense

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      What an awesome experience. Well told and the photos add so much. Thanks for sharing this event.

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      Wow! What more can I say....not many people get the opportunity to meet the Pope. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips on how to get an audience with the Pope. Should I ever make it to Vatican City, I'll be on the hunt for one of those green tickets:)

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      Wow, what an amazing experience! That is such a great opportunity that you had! Congrats on the well earned SSA :)

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

      WOW - now that is a once in a lifetime experience that comes through serendipity and being in the right place at the right time. Congratulations.

    • profile image

      VideoGameFanatic 6 years ago

      This must have been a truly memorable experience. I never knew that folks like us could get to meet the Pope in person. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, this is so amazing, I never knew anyone who met the Pope. Great lens on how to get to meet the Pope.

    • Wooden-Crosses LM profile image

      Wooden-Crosses LM 7 years ago

      Wow, amazing stuff! I'll be sure to TRY :D

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      While I'm Catholic, I don't really believe in anything nor do I go to churches, but I think your meeting with the pop must have been an exciting moment in your life! Congrats on your SSA!

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      What a cool story! Blessed by a squidangel

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      I have only been in contact with a bishop. I can just imagine how you felt to meet the Pope in person.

      Congratulations on the sunshine award.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 7 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Thanks so much for sharing this interesting experience with us! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congratulations on getting an audience with the Pope! And your Purple Star (how cool...rather Popely don't ya think?) and the Sunshine Award!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      And congratulations again, this time for your Summer Sunshine charity award!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations on winning the Sunshine Award. Well deserved.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your Sunshine Award! Thanks to this lens, you and CAER Food Shelf have earned $99.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Congratulations on the new purple star! I'm happy to have featured it on my Quest for 20 Worthy Lenses lens!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow! I echo OhMe's message. I just can't imagine the thrill of meeting the Pope, any Pope. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      Oh my! What an amazing experience! I cannot imagine! I enjoyed reading your story!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Ok. I am speechless. This is so amazing. I couldn't believe you were sitting on front row seats and then my mouth flew open when I actually saw you and your husband kissing the hand of the Pope. I know I had just read about your experience on your other lens but seeing the photo was a whole other experience. I have chills and I am not Catholic. Thank you so much for sharing this once in a lifetime experience. It is, for sure, that being disabled doesn't offer many benefits but I imagine this is one that you will never forget. Nominating for the Sunshine Award using the new nomination and featuring on Squidoo's Summer Sunshine Award Nominees.