BIG NEWS FROM PREFECTURE OF PAPAL HOUSEHOLD
Big changes are coming from the Prefecture of the Papal Household.
As you know from the many times I have posted information on how to get tickets for papal events such as the Wednesday general audience, Masses, Holy Week liturgies, etc., I have always given the link to the Prefecture of the Papal Household as this office is the one charged with both organizing papal events in Vatican City and distributing tickets for those events and liturgies.
Anyone who wrote directly to this office was told how, the day before the event, they could pick up their ticket(s) by going to the Bronze Gate, where Swiss Guards would direct them to the Apostolic Palace.
For many years, decades in some instances, parishes in Rome, seminaries and other institutions and travel agencies have made these tickets available to people by arranging to get tickets from the Prefecture and then distributing them to the people who requested them via email or some other type of correspondence.
For example, the North American College offers this service to visitors to Rome and, in fact, has an office near Trevi Fountain on Via dell’Umilta 30, called the Bishops’ Office for US Visitors to the Vatican. The College website gives an email address to which people can write who wish tickets to a general audience or papal Mass or liturgy. The tickets are then made available to those who wrote in, requesting a ticket.
The same holds true for St. Patrick’s, the parish in Rome for Catholic Americans and other English-speaking Catholics. The website and the Sunday bulletin note that, upon request, tickets for a papal event will be available at a specific time in the church vestibule the day before that event.
Tickets for papal events are always entirely free. Absolutely no papal event ever has a charge linked to the ticket.
Some events do not require a ticket (though you will still have to go through security): the Sunday Angelus and the Good Friday Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, for example. If someone tries to sell you a ticket for these, it is a scam.
Up to now the procedure has been for parishes, seminaries or other institutions that distribute such tickets to contact the Prefecture of the Papal Household with the number of tickets they will need to distribute, based on specific requests. Someone from the parish, etc picks the tickets up in the Vatican at the Prefecture on Tuesday mornings for the Wednesday audience, for example. Those tickets are then distributed by the seminary, the parish, etc. on Tuesday afternoon.
All that seems to have changed.
Parishes, etc, have been informed that, as of January 1, 2020, tickets will no longer be made available to them, rather all individuals who wish to attend a general audience, etc. must write in person to the Prefecture at least one week before the event.
One of the reasons behind this change is the fact that many hotels and travel agencies were charging for papal tickets – sometime exorbitant prices, as I know from email correspondence with people! Thus, in an effort to avoid a so-called middleman (seminary, parish, travel agency), all tickets must now be requested only through the prefecture. It seems the prefecture is also looking at crowd control.
The big test for this change will probably be seen tomorrow morning when representatives of parishes, etc. go to the Vatican to pick up requested tickets. They will either get them, as they have for years, or the new policy will be put into effect.
My question is this: If the thousands of people who up to now got their tickets through a “middleman” have to personally go to the Vatican the day before the event, won’t that create a huge crowd in or near St. Peter’s Square? Or will the Vatican establish additional pick-up points?
I’ll keep you posted.
By the way, if you want tickets for a papal event: