We left the hotel just after midnight to line up with the entire country of Poland and everyone else who came for the beatification.
Around 2 a.m. we had a nice few feet of cobblestone. Some were able to sleep, some were able to work.
There was pushing, shoving, stepping on and kicking. All one would expect from a Papal Event.
Every hour or so, a little room would open up, and the entire line would move forward a few feet.
While we were all able to sit for about an hour, once this started, there was no more sitting. The only rest was leaning against the stranger beside you.
We started with 24 people and lost about half through the night as some decided to go to their perfectly fine hotel rooms.
A highlight of the line, was the lovely singing Vatican helper who was passing out water and slapping the hands of those who tried to steal the programs. I could have stood by her all night. She was so happy and such a great singer!
But an hour or so after meeting her, we were swept away in another wave of people.
When the sun came up and gates were opened, it got really crazy. Everything before was tame compared to what came next. Every 30 minutes they let another group of several thousand in. When that happened the whole sea of people swayed and moved forward. For about five minutes at one point, my feet did not touch the ground. I literally levitated into Saint Peter’s Square.
My group was the last to get in. If we had waited even 30 minutes longer to leave the hotel, we would have been on the street for the Mass.
We got a great spot near the fountain inside the piazza. And we only had to wait about an hour before Mass.
Even inside the piazza and throughout Mass, people were rude and pushy.
Once the pope came out and things got underway, we knew the wait was worth it.
I’ve been to many beatifications and canonizations, but the energy here was crazy! When they displayed the Blessed JPII tapestry and then brought out his relic, I cried. This is someone I had met. Shook his hand, said hello, kissed his ring. It was a very special moment.
What happened next was something I’d never seen. A voice came over the PA to announce that Mass was beginning and to please put away banners and be silent. And it happened! I’ve never heard the piazza so quiet. It was beautiful.
The Mass was great and when it was finished, so were we!
I had the hotel keep the rooms until 5:00 p.m. even though we were leaving that day. So, naps all around!
We headed out at 5:00 p.m. for Athens.