What to expect during an audience with the Holy Father?


I was wondering this. What should I expect during an audience with the Holy Father in Rome?


I don’t know, but gee, lucky you. Have always wanted that myself.


I have been able to catch quite a few on television. Here is what happens. The Holy Father will circle St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile (if it’s outdoors) or he will come in from “backstage” at Paul VI Hall (held there when the weather is bad).

If memory serves, there will be an opening prayer. Then, a particular passage will be read. This year, the theme of his General Audience is on St. Paul, so you will be hearing a proclamation from one of the Apostle’s epistles. It is generally proclaimed in Italian, French, Spanish, English and German. Then, he will deliver his catechesis (in Italian). If you do not speak Italian, it might be wise to take a pocket radio (with discreet headphones) so that you can catch the Vatican Radio English-language translation). I cannot, for the life of me, understand why EWTN doesn’t have the English translation.

After the lengthy catechesis (longer than a homily), greetings will be exchanged between the Holy Father and the various language groups. They tend to follow the same order as the proclamations of the reading. If you are traveling as part of a pilgramage (parish-sponsored or otherwise), the chances are that the Holy Father will greet your group. When the English speaking segment begins, cheer loud and proud. If your group is called, cheer even louder. Once all the cheers and greetings are exchanged (there are some choirs who come and they get to sing to him in whatever language), then, he will give a brief synopsis in English of what he said in Italian. If you are a Spanish speaker, then, you will get a double treat, as the message may vary. I would cheer even at that point, as well.

Once all of the language groups receive their greetings, he will lead you in the chanting of the Pater Noster in Latin. There is no excuse for not knowing it, since he made sure that the prayer was written, in Latin, on the back of your audience ticket.

Then, he will impart his blessing, which he willingly extends to members of your family, especially the elderly, the infirmed and children. At that point, you can hold up whatever religious articles you have with you (medals, rosaries, etc) and he will bless them.

If he is in St. Peter’s Square, he will ride the Popemobile all around the Piazza. If he is at Paul VI Hall, he will exit and go backstage.

If you are so inclined, catch a broadcast or set your TIVO or DVR, to EWTN, 3:30AM CST or 4:30AM, EST, on Wednesday, to catch the Papal Audience in its entirety.
I hope this helps.


You are so blessed, Jeanne! When are you going? I’m very happy for you! :bounce:

I’ve not attended a Papal Audience… but I DID attend a Papal Mass (Pope John Paul II… Los Angeles, 1987). One of the greatest things was receiving the Holy Fathers blessing!

May your experience be AWESOME! God bless!

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