Attending the weekly Papal Audience in Rome
Certainly one of the highlights of any trip to Rome is the opportunity to attend the weekly public Papal Audience on most Wednesdays of each month. We say most Wednesdays since when the Pope is traveling or at the summer residence in Castel Gandolfo then the audience is not held.
Public audiences are held either in Saint Peter’s Square or in Pope Paul VI Hall, mostly depending upon the weather.
If you are traveling with an organized tour then all the tickets should be pre-arranged. For independent travelers tickets to the audience are free, but must be reserved in advance. To reserve tickets you have several options:
1. For visitors from the U.S. the North American College, which is the U.S. Bishops seminary in Rome, can arrange tickets for you. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Visitors from Australia can obtains tickets through Domus Australia in Rome. Contact them at email@example.com
3. Visitors from any country can obtain tickets through the Vatican Website of the Prefecture of the Papal Household.
There are some tour companies that offer tickets for independent travelers as well as helping you get to the audience. This obviously means money out of your pocket but in return you get help if you need it and you will usually have better seating than if you do it yourself.
If seating yourself, you might want to try to be near the center aisle as that is where the Pope normally processes after the audience to bless everyone.
Newly married couples can have their marriages blessed during the audience but they need to fill out an application found on the Vatican’s website under the Prefecture of the Papal Household. Then after it’s submitted, the only thing left to do is wait for a reply.
Not going to be there on a Wednesday? The Pope also leads the Angelus from his window at the Vatican every Sunday at noon. Tickets are not required for this event.
In the past, during the summer months of July and August, Papal Audiences were often cancelled, since Popes often spent those months at the Papal Palace at Castel Gandolfo. Pope France, however, does not stay there so most audiences are held here at Saint Peter’s even in the summer months.
The Holy Father also normally leads the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square on Sundays at noon.