The privilege of a quiet St Peter's

Yesterday morning I said my Mass at St Peter's and was fortunate enough to get the lovely altar of the Transfiguration. This is where Fr Mark Withoos, an official of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei usually says his Mass shortly after 7am each day.

As well as the magnificent mosaic of the Transfiguration, the altar now has an added interest because the remains of Blessed Pope Innocent XI are housed beneath it. The blessed Pope was removed to make way for the newly blessed Pope John Paul II:

On Wednesday, the Basilica is empty save for priests celebrating Mass and a few people with them. It is a day for the Sampietrini to clean confessionals, polish bits of marble and generally spruce things up while the pilgrims are waiting for the General Audience outside. It was an opportunity for me to take some photos.

I forgot to bring my flickr password so these are low resolution but I hope to fill up my "St Peter's" set when I get home.

Here is a view of the Piazza with the big picture of Blessed Pope John Paul II and Spalancate le porte a Cristo (Open wide the doors to Christ.)

With the zoom and the big camera, I managed to get a recognisable photo of Pope Benedict; I rather like the foreground with children on their Daddys' shoulders:

Finally, one feature of the General Audience is the presence of newly-married couples. What you do is to get your parish priest to write to the Papal Nuncio in your country, (and perhaps send him an ecclesiastical certificate of marriage) with a request for tickets for the General Audience. You will get good tickets close to the Pope and probably a chance to shake his hand and get a really memorable photo. This happy couple were on their way through security as I passed.

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