VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has just made it a bit easier for folks looking to come to Rome to attend one of the pope’s weekly general audiences or liturgical ceremonies.
Just a few weeks ago, the Prefecture of the Papal Household revamped its Web site giving people the information and the official form they need to request the free tickets. Previously people had to call the prefecture to learn how the procedure worked. Now they can just go to the Web site, download the request form, and send it in by post or fax.
An official at the prefecture told me this morning that ever since they changed the Web site and made more information available online, the number of calls coming in for general information “have dropped” substantially and requests coming in by fax “have gone up a lot.”
They’ve also added a calendar of the pope’s schedule — when Pope Benedict is or isn’t holding a general audience — so pilgrims don’t request tickets on a day the pope is on vacation or out of town.
The new changes don’t include being able to send requests by e-mail; so far only the U.S. Bishops’ Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican and the American Church of Santa Susanna offer that option.
And don’t forget: the same dress code applies to papal audiences as with the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica — wearing tank tops, spaghetti straps, and short shorts are a no-no.