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There’s a whole passel of people, Catholic and non, going to Rome with Emily and Thomas to see them get the papal blessing on their newly-minted marriage. I have the same flight from Cork they do, as does Mary, so we all share a cab to the airport. Em manages to convince Aer Lingus to give them an extra seat for her wedding dress.

ImageEm and Thomas have been planning this for months. They had to apply, get tickets, and the day of, they have to get up at five in the morning, put on their wedding garb, wait in line for front-row seats, run to claim them, and sit in the sun for about six hours, only one of which is taken up with the papal address. They had been planning to get sandwiches to take with them, but room service is not available at five in the morning in Italy. So the day of the blessing, they sit, in the front row, hungry, and getting more sunburned by the minute, as the Pope gives a short address, which is then translated into French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. Then it is time for him to bless sacred objects and Catholic people, and Em and Thomas wait for him to come and pray over them in their native language, as they have heard he has done in the past. But apparently he gives the ticket-buying crowd a quick wave over his shoulder and that’s it. He does some other blessings and gets on his Popemobile and goes to wave at the larger crowd below. Which is exciting for the crowd below, but bitterly disappointing for Emily and Thomas.

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