"From my point of view, God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us."
- Pope Francis
When my son and I visited Rome recently, we had only two days there so we planned to see the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica the first day, and the next day see Castel Sant'Angelo and roam around a bit. By what seemed like happenstance, a shop owner near our hotel mentioned that she would be opening early the next day because Pope Francis would be coming out to address the public. What?!!
I am not a religious person in the sense of religion that is more about exclusion and rules than love (which, unfortunately, most of them are in my opinion) but I did think it would be an amazing shared life experience with my son to see the pope, particularly Pope Francis.
His address was scheduled for 10:00am the next morning which was the exact same time as our reservation tickets at Castel Sant'Angelo. We decided to try going to the Castle later in the day and see the pope in the morning. The tricky part was that there would be thousands of people in attendance and neither John nor myself like crowds (our compatibility in this way makes travel plans so much easier)! Luckily, our hotel was only about a block from St. Peter's Basilica where the papal address would take place so we were able to leave our hotel at 9:45am and stroll over to the 10:00am address, avoiding the long lines that began hours earlier for the people who wanted to try for a spot up closer. We were both happy to be in the back where there was room to breathe. For us, the important part was sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We were glad we went and later that afternoon Castel Sant'Angelo still honored our tickets and allowed us to skip the long lines and go right in, even though we were four hours late. Sweet.