I had a Catholic upbringing and was schooled in Catholic institutes, sang in church as one a choir member, and as a child, had frequent appearances as an angel (not too far from real life hehehe) during Easter Sundays and other similar church activities. Think Katy Perry. While at present I consider myself more spiritual than religious (hmm, that sounds very Perry still), I have been waiting all of my life for the moment I set foot at the Vatican and let God’s church open its doors to me.
I went two times. The first time alone, the second with my hubby.
Despite the throngs of tour groups, crowds speaking in varied languages and clicking away, I felt a deep sense of serenity as I gazed into Renaissance architecture of one the largest churches in the world.
I separated myself from all that buzz and allowed myself to admire this holy site. The look was not new to me, the feeling was. I have seen enough photos and videos of this but the warmth and peace weren’t always there, as it was..here..now.
I visited the sarcophagus of former Pope John Paul II. He was the Pope I knew, serving before I was even born, 1978-2005. I did not have the chance to see him in person when he was alive but being so used to regularly seeing him on media paraphernalia saying mass, and smiling at people, and winning us all with his natural charisma made me feel close to him, more especially at that particular moment when his remains were a few steps away from me.
Another memorable event would be the visiting the Chapel of the (Blessed) Sacrament. Luckily on my first visit it was open for prayer. “NO photos, no visit, pray only”, as strictly enforced by the guard. How good of God to allow me to offer my adoration. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Some of my fellow Catholics were shedding tears in reverence.
One of our most unforgettable events was the fulfillment of my birthday wish–my hubby and I were granted an audience with the priests of the Vatican. We heard mass at the greatest of all churches in Christendom. The mass was generally in Italian and well, we didn’t understand a thing, but there we were joining the community if just by following sequence, standing in rapt adoration at God’s greatness in and outside these walls and into our lives.
I have never felt more Catholic in my life.