Being in Rome for the biggest religious holiday of the year meant chaos, fighting huge crowds anywhere you went. Friday, being Good Friday the Pope held his Stations of the Cross mass by the Colosseum.
Now, I’ve been asked when I became so ‘Catholic’ but that’s not the case, yes I’m catholic but I can’t recall the last time I went to church, and I don’t spend my down time praying, I just have an unhealthy obsession with the Pope.
All the same, I decided I must see him carrying the cross, so I packed in to the limited space to watch this all take place on a screen, as actually seeing the Pope firsthand would of required some kind of climbing. I had no idea that taking a mass away from St. Peter’s would have such an adverse effect on the crowds, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for what I was going to experience.
The mass started, the people cheered, and then they turned crazy. After Papa Frankie had appeared people decided they would leave, which is fine, had they not been squeezed in the middle of 10,000 others, and this is where the problems began.
In my direct vicinity I witnessed three fights, one of which was physical, and ended with some very loud Italian words being screamed, while Irish nuns watched on in horror. I saw two ladies vomit and pass out, as they were trying to rush through the crowd to get air, and to top it off, someone smashed a bottle of wine at my feet, why people were coming to the most somber mass of the year to have a quiet drink is beyond me.
It was strange that the venue can have such an impact on people, it’s definitely a different atmosphere opposed to St. Peter’s where 100 thousand people fell silent when the Pope appeared as a spec in a window.