Experiencing Easter At The Vatican

Experiencing Easter At The Vatican

How to spend Easter with the Pope and 150,000 other people
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Since the beginning of the semester, I had known that I would be spending the first half of my spring break alone. Most of my friends and roommates were planning on traveling as soon as classes ended on Thursday, while I would be staying in Rome. Not because I didn't want to travel with them, but because I knew Rome had something far more exciting to offer than the beaches and sights my vacation would bring me to later in the week: Easter in the Vatican City. It's not exactly likely that I will be back in Rome any time soon, especially not in the spring, so getting to see the Pope in St. Peter's Square during Holy Week could very well be a once in a lifetime experience. If you are planning on going the Vatican for Easter, take this article as an example of what you might find there. If you don't know that you'll make it to Rome for the spring, feel free to live vicariously through me.

To get into the center of St. Peter's Square on Easter, you need to have a ticket, which I did not have. This was both because I had heard the process of getting one was tedious and needed to be started at least two months in advance, and because I hadn't known you needed tickets until those two months were almost up. Lucky for me, you don't actually need a ticket to get into the square, only to get past the final line of security closest to the basilica. Tickets are free, though, so if you want to get closer to the altar, don't hesitate if you have the time and patience to try to get one.

Since I didn't know exactly what ticketing or crowds would be like without a ticket, I got to St. Peter's about an hour before mass started. The entire street leading to the basilica was cleared of street traffic and filled with security checkpoints. The crowd in the square was standing, separated by barricades. The square wasn't all that crowded yet, so I ended up just one row of people away from the barricade separating ticket holders and non-ticket holders. Over the course of the next hour, though, the space behind me filled with people. I watched the crowds grow as cameras hovered over the crowd on cranes, projecting our images onto the screens that circled St. Peter's Square. Flags waved through the crowd, marking the countries they had come from throughout the world. The man in front of me asked the women next to them where they were from in easy English. "Argentina," they said. He smiled. "Phillipines."

So much about the mass was so foreign to me, yet felt completely familiar. The hour-long ceremony was accompanied by not only by an organ and choir, but by an entire orchestra. I read along in the book as the mass was carried out in an array of different languages I could only understand through previous knowledge of what the readings at Easter mass usually are. The readings changed from Latin to Greek to Arabic to Chinese with every pause in the mass. When it came time to say peace to my neighbors, I was met with a response in at least seven different languages. The structure of the ceremony was exactly the same as any other I had been to, except now I really didn't know what to say when the Pope said, "Dominus vobiscum."

Everything seemed to be going pretty orderly until it came time for communion. There was no real way to create a line in the packed crowd, so priests just stood several steps apart in front of the barricade and waited for people to make it to them through the throng. It wasn't very long before people started shoving their way to the front, throwing their hands up to let the priests know they hadn't received communion yet as they rushed forward. Eventually, though, they started to figure it out. Those who had already made their way to the priest parted until a clear line of concrete ran in front of him, creating space enough for a proper line to form. I was lucky enough to already be at the front of the crowd when the priest first came around, but it did take a good amount of time for him to get everyone. It also gave all those people at the back of the crowd a chance to be in front, so I lost my spot close to the barricade. I was in the third row of people afterward, though, so still not too bad.

The priest left, mass concluded, and a suited man shut the open ticket barricade closed in front of us, creating an alley between us and the ticket holders. The people around me started talking rapidly and excitedly in a hundred different languages. The Pope step down from the altar until he was hidden by the crowd, but on screen I watched him step into the car beside the steps. It was brilliantly white in the sun.

Shouts and cries were the only way of telling where he was in the crowd. I opened the camera on my phone and held it above my head. We waited as the volume began to crescendo to our left. The women beside me cried out, "Papa! Papa!" as he appeared atop the car, waving to the crowd. Layers of guards walked ahead of him and led him past. The people around me still chattered and bounced with excitement as they waited for him to reappear.

"Mira, mira!" said the woman beside me. She pointed at the papal window. The pope stood above the crowd beside two men clothed in white. He leaned toward the microphone in front of him. "Sorelle e fratelli, Buona Pasqua," he said. The crowd cried out, "Buona Pasqua," with utter joy in their voices. I spent the next ten minutes trying to decipher his Italian using a mixture of the elementary Italian I've been learning and Spanish. I caught bits and pieces of it before he disappeared behind the red curtain hanging behind him. The barricades were open and the basilica's bells began to ring. The drums and horns joined it softly. I followed the crowd out onto the empty Via della Conciliazione, forming an entire street of people giddy from being surrounded by such resounding joy. I walked as the church bells faded behind me until all I could hear was the sound of drums, creating an echoing heartbeat that seemed to emanate from the basilica itself.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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He Made You For More, Do Not Settle

Psalm 139:13-14 " For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

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When we read titles like that, we usually think about romantic relationships, not today!

Let Daenne's Journal take your mind to a new direction.

When I read verses like Psalm 139:13-14 " For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." My confidence level always rise up on many areas of my life.

When it comes to relationships, we usually tell our friends do not settle, you are worth more than this, you are this you are that which are all good things. But, what about all the other aspects of life? Why do we often put romantic relationships as the center of the universe? Were we not created for far more than that? Aren't we kingdom children called to be part of the advancement of the kingdom by making disciples and succeed in everything we do? Aren't we called to first seek the kingdom of God?

I find it interesting that we give our loved ones advice on whether or not they are settling in relationships, but find it okay that they are settling for everything else in life.

I do not like to see anyone go through heartbreaks or settle for less in relationships because I have been through some heartbreaks and it is not pretty. But, I have learned that settling for less in the other aspects of life can affect us negatively as well. There is no age limit when it comes to having dreams and following them.The one person's story who inspires me the most is my dad's. I do not usually mention him in my articles or any public post because this is not his thing. But, he had a goal, left home, went elsewhere for a better life, worked on that goal, succeed, went back home with other goals, fulfill them, succeed, and working on more goals. He is nearly 60 and this man has not stopped working. I have never met anyone more hardworking than my father, my rock, my daddy (can you tell I'm still daddy's girl at heart).

What I found out is that many times we settle for less in life because we don't know our purpose (that is a big one). We might know our purpose, but forget that God is the creator of the universe, author of our story and He has a day and a time for everything to come to pass. God has been working on my patience on so many levels Daenne's Journal Fam. My mindset is usually "I want it, I want it now", can you relate? I mean, who likes to wait? if you do, man God bless you. I don't even like to wait for the commercials on YouTube. I often just give up watching something I had my mind set to watch on YouTube just because the skip button is not coming up. Thirty seconds=too long of a wait for me. It took me a while to realize that I was like that in other areas of my life. My impatience led me to settle for less than what God had for me so many time, and I do not want that for you.There are thoughts that I have sometimes which later make me think "you think God needs your help to accomplish His plans for your life?" The answer to this is a big NO for both you and I.

In what area of your life are you settling for less? Are you perhaps "being impatient"? Have you asked yourself if that is God's plan for your life?

As Children of God, we should commit our plans to Him and let him establish our steps (Proverbs 16:3). Pray, do your part, be patient and let God handle this!

If you don't remember anything else I said, just remember the following: Wait on God! Trust His GPS! DO NOT SETTLE WHILE YOU WAIT! What He has for you is always better than what you are settling for!

Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Xoxo,

DD

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