Every Sunday, if the Pope is at the Vatican, he will speak to those who gather outside St. Peter’s Square. The Pontiff usually appears from the window of his apartment at 12 noon, delivers a short message, says a prayer, and then offers his blessing. The entire appearance lasts up to 20 minutes. I have been to two of these ceremonies; once, while back-packing through Europe, and the other time as a radio reporter.
” Feb 17/85 Today we went to the Vatican and saw the inside and the Pieta. We also saw Pope John Paul ll and he blessed us.”(personal journal entry)
Pope John Paul ll was the leader of the Catholic Church when I received my first Papal Blessing in 1985. It was an overcast day and only a small group had gathered to catch a glimpse of the Pontiff. The Pope spoke Italian that day and I understood most of what he was saying. He spoke of Christ walking on water and how Christ grabbed Peter’s hand when he was sinking saying: “…you, of little faith. Why do you doubt?” In the crowd, a teacher conducted a group of students in a song for the Pope.
Thousands were outside St. Peter’s Square after Pope Benedict XVI celebrated mass with his newly appointed Cardinals in February of 2012. Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins was elevated to Cardinal that weekend. I had the privilege of reporting the event for a network of radio stations. On that Sunday, Pope Benedict gave his message and blessing in many different languages. He asked the crowd to pray for him and the newly appointed Cardinals.