What is the Papal audience? Find out what it entails.
Every Wednesday (unless the Pope is busy traveling), Via della Conciliazione closes to traffic and barricades are put up. The whole square becomes a theatre, seats are arranged for the multitudes of people that gather from all parts of the world to participate in the general audience. Tickets are limited and go quickly, and so do the seats at the front of the square, so it’s always advisable to show up before it opens, around 8am. At 10:30 (or 10, during the hotter months), the Pope slowly rides the popemobile through St Peter’s square. It’s common to see parents holding up their children, or recently married couples showing up in their wedding dresses, to receive his blessing as he makes his way through the crowd. Once the popemobile stops, the Pope walks up the stairs to the Basilica and gives a homily. Afterwards, greetings are given in many languages to all the pilgrims attending the general audience.
The audience usually lasts an hour and a half. In case of inclement weather, the audience moves to the Paul IV Hall next to the Basilica, where seating is limited to 6300 people, on a first-come, first-served basis.
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