Pope Benedict arrived on time in his pope mobile, to the cheers and waves of his followers. People then sat, as the Pope made his way to the front of St Peter's. The next one and a quarter hours comprised of Pope Benedict reading his message, in many different languages, followed by singing of the "Our Father." Groups of pilgrims, school groups and others from all over the world were acknowledged for their presence. It was a very long but joyous occasion.
After a brief stop for lunch, Brett Snr and Jnr and Tricia sent a few postcards from the Vatican Post Office and then headed to a very special Scavi Tour. This "tour" is limited to small groups of about 12 and must be booked directly through the Vatican months ahead. It is really more like a pilgrimage and no photography is allowed. A Vatican guide leads you through the Roman Necropolis (city of the dead), of Imperial times, 4-12 meters under St Peter's Basilica. The excavation was ordered by Pope Pius XI and occurred between 1940 and 1949. The tour culminates in witnessing a small group of the purported bones of St Peter, positioned immediately below the Basilica's altar.
|Getting seated for the Pope's General Audience|
|A painting adorning St Peter's exterior|
|Television screens aid the audience's view|
|Awaiting the Pope's arrival|
|St Peter's Square was filled with followers from all over the world|
|The Pope arrives in his pope mobile|
|The special "stage" erected for the General Audience|
|Pope Benedict XVI|
|A grander view of the stage|