Mass at the Vatican
There are several masses that are celebrated at the Vatican with the Pope. These masses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square or in St. Peter’s Basilica or in both locations. The location of the mass depends on the type of celebration and the expected number of people who will be attending the mass. According to the Catholic Calendar, most masses at the Vatican are celebrated at the St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica has a large capacity and can host to up to 15,000 people. This capacity is big enough for most of the Papal Masses. Nevertheless, there are other masses that cannot be held at the St. Peter’s Basilica. These are the masses in which even more people are expected to attend. In most cases, these larger masses are celebrated during special occasions on the Catholic Calendar such as the Papal inauguration, Easter celebrations, Christmas celebrations, etc. These larger masses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.
If you wish to attend a mass in the Vatican you will require a ticket. The tickets are issued a few days before the mass and you will need to make arrangements in order to acquire some. In most cases, the Holy See issues different types of tickets. There are tickets for Cardinals, Governors and Diplomats, special guests and then for the public.
The tickets for mass at the Vatican are always free. You can get the tickets directly from the Swiss Guards and depending on the number of tickets you require, an advance reservation is recommended. Usually you will be required to book your tickets and collect them at least 3 days before the mass. The tickets can be booked online at the official Vatican website.
However, having a ticket is not a guarantee that you will be able to attend the mass. Sometimes there are too many people and you may be denied access to the mass even though you have got tickets. Therefore in order to avoid being denied access and attend the mass, it is advised to get there early. The earlier you arrive at the Vatican, the higher the chance that you may attend the mass whether it takes place at the St.Peter’s Basilica or at St. Peter’s Square. In order to get a good place you should make sure that you arrive at the Vatican at least 1-3 hours before the beginning of the mass.
Security is always tight at the entrance to the Vatican during any mass and everyone will need to pass through security scanners which are conducted by the Swiss Guards. There is also a dress code for the Vatican Mass. Shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders are not allowed. If you don't abide by the dress code you will be turned away by the security guards and the attendants.
Attending a mass in the Vatican is an exciting and invigorating experience during which you will be able to see the Pope and celebrate with a huge crowd. If you can, get yourself a ticket. Make sure to arrive at the Vatican early wear acceptable clothes; this way you can make sure that you will be able to attend the Mass and not be turned away.