Green Room

Photo: Standing on the colonnade at the Vatican

posted at 8:25 am on March 17, 2013 by

(VATICAN CITY) Earlier today, Pope Francis gave his first Sunday Angelus and blessing to the city of Rome, drawing a crowd of tens of thousands away from the marathon taking place in the center of the city.  While the Pope offered open arms to Romans, I stood on the open arm of the Vatican itself, where the media gathered to watch and listen to Francis. I’ll have more later, but this picture shows my view of the crowd in St. Peter’s Square:




I may end up back there on Tuesday for the installation Mass as well.

We have not yet received the English translation of Francis’ speech, again a side effect of his spontaneity, and I was told it would come tomorrow.  Vatican Radio’s English-language report offers a brief recap:


After returning into the church to take off his liturgical vestments, Pope Francis again greeted the faithful outside, before making his way to his study and the window overlooking St Peter’s Square, below which was gathered a crowd to rival the more than 100 thousand-strong who braved cold, rain and dark to meet the Pope on Wednesday – the night of his election – and receive his blessing for the first time. Dozens of national flags were visible in the packed Square, and a deafening cheer went up when, at last, Pope Francis appeared. Mercy was once again the cornerstone of his reflections ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion.

He told a story, of an elderly widow he encountered during a Mass for the sick celebrated in connection with a visit of the image of Our Lady of Fatima. “I went to confession during the Mass,” he said, “and near the end – I had to go to do confirmations afterward, and an elderly lady approached me – humble [she was] so very humble, more than eighty years old. I looked at her, and said, ‘Grandmother,’ – where I come from, we call elderly people grandmother and grandfather – ‘would you like to make your confession?’ ‘Yes,’ she said – and I said, ‘but, if you have not sinned…’ and she said, ‘we all have sinned.’ [I replied], ‘if perhaps He should not forgive [you]?’ and, sure, she replied, ‘The Lord forgives everything.’ I asked, ‘How do you know this for sure, madam?’ and she replied, ‘If the Lord hadn’t forgiven all, then the world wouldn’t [still] be here.’ And, I wanted to ask her, ‘Madam, did you study at the Gregorian (the Pontifical Gregorian University, founded in 1551 by St Ignatius Loyola, the oldest Jesuit university in the world)?’ – because that is wisdom, which the Holy Spirit gives – interior wisdom regarding the mercy of God. Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us,” he repeated, “but we sometimes tire of asking Him to forgive us.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Let us never tire of asking God’s forgiveness.”

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Ed, the questions we all want to know the answer are whether Uncle Joe will have the gall to take Communion…and will Francis have the courage to say not just no, but hell no!

NavyMustang on March 17, 2013 at 8:45 AM

What a view…must be absolutely amazing being there. Has our new pope worn any of the more formal garb yet? I’m not complaining, I think it’s great he’s keeping it real…simple and unpretentious.

JetBoy on March 17, 2013 at 8:55 AM

nice view Ed

cmsinaz on March 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

How in the heck did you get permission to get up there?


GeeWhiz on March 17, 2013 at 10:35 AM

A few millenia of collectivized wealth buys quite a view.

tom daschle concerned on March 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I love this Pope. He seems like a guy you’d want to split a pizza with and talk about faith and God for hours.

Plus he just looks so nice.

gophergirl on March 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

One day, Jim and his good friend Schwartz were talking about famous people they’d met, and Schwartz told Jim that he knew both the President and the Pope. Jim was incredulous so he said “Prove it!” and Schwartz said that if Jim paid for the travel, he would. Jim, being somewhat wealthy, agreed. So off they went from Chicago to Washington. When they arrived in Washington, they drove straight to the White House, and when they reached the gate to the driveway, Schwartz told the Secret Service man who he was and was quickly granted admittance. When they were ushered in Michelle Obama rushed up to Schwartz and gave him a big kiss and a short while later they were ushered into the Oval Office where President Obama greeted Schwartz warmly.

All too soon, the visit was over, and they were driving back to Dulles for the flight to Rome. Jim said to Schwartz, “Well, I can believe you might know the President — he’s from Chicago just like we are. But I can’t believe you know the Pope!” Schwartz replied “Wait until we get there”.

When they got to Rome, they rushed over to St. Peter’s Square for the daily blessing by the Pope — which was due to happen within the hour. Schwartz said to Jim “I can’t get you in to see the Pope on such short notice because the security is much tougher here than it is in the White House. But when you see me standing with the Pope up on the balcony, you’ll know that I know him.” Schwartz then disappeared into the crowd and started moving toward the entrance. A little while later the Pope appears on the balcony, and beckons to someone inside and Schwartz comes out to stand next to the Pope. The Pope gives Schwartz a big hug and Schwartz bends down to kiss his ring. Schwartz straightens up and finds Jim in the crowd below just in time to see Jim collapse to the ground. Schwartz immediately rushes down from the balcony out to the square and quickly makes his way to Jim, who is just beginning to come to his senses.

Schwartz yells at Jim “What happened? I was up there and saw you faint, so I got down here just as quickly as I could. What happened?”

Jim replied, “I was doing really well until a guy next to me turned to me and said ‘Who’s that guy standing next to Schwartz?'”

unclesmrgol on March 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Once again Ed, thanks so much for covering this for those who can only dream of being there.

The pictures, the videos and the commentary has been awesome.

CoffeeLover on March 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Excellent view. Truly the journey of a lifetime.

Zorro on March 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Ed, have they installed a jumbotron so the peeps in the back can see the pope? Based on that picture, I couldn’t even tell where the pope was supposed to be.

Did you know that the pope walked outside of the gates today to greet those who didn’t make it in? They showed this on FNC today and mentioned how the security staff is so not used to an independent minded Pope. The crowd appeared very respectful and wasn’t rushing to crowd him, giving enough personal space. I was pretty impressed.

karenhasfreedom on March 17, 2013 at 6:34 PM

…the crowds have been amazing…and the Pope reminds me of my favorite…John Paul II

KOOLAID2 on March 17, 2013 at 11:26 PM

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