Marriage is an important milestone in one’s life. For us Catholics, nothing is more memorable than to have it blessed by the pope. If you have been married for two months or less, this is something you can request: it’s called the Sposi Novelli blessing (Italian for “newlyweds”).
The pope gives a public audience every Wednesday morning. Tickets for all papal ceremonies are free of charge. You can go to the papal audience site and choose a date. Download the form here and address it to the Prefecture of the Papal Household. The form must be faxed to this number +390669885863. We recommend that you secure your reservation a few months in advance.
We understand that with the advance of technology, many people do not have access to faxes anymore. Unfortunately, the Vatican does not seem to process the applications through email yet, so we have to make do. One option is to pay for fax service at a paper store. But you can fax using your cellphone. We recommend downloading Faxapp at faxapp.com and avail their services for a fee. You can have your own local fax number and send faxes (via the website or fax software) over the internet without a landline and you can receive faxes delivered to your email inbox.
You need to collect your tickets in person the day before the audience. Be at the Bronze Door (right hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square) between 15h00 to 19h00, local time. Bear in mind that there might be queuing. Also, when you are at the ticket office, you may have to produce your wedding certificate, so be prepared with that.
On the day of your scheduled Sposi Novelli audience with the pope, you should wear your wedding attire, and remember you are going to have to pass by a metal detector. Also, be there very early. The Vatican website recommends you to be there by 08h45, but we were there at around 08h00 and the lines were already long. The sooner you queue, the best chance you have to choose the best seats.
Depending on the weather and circumstances, the papal audience can be at St. Peter’s Square or at the Apostolic Palace, in San Damaso Courtyard. Either way, you will be out in the open, so remember to check the weather forecast, so as to know whether you should bring an umbrella or hat and sunscreen. We had to buy an umbrella near the place we stayed.
During the papal audience, there are Scripture readings, and the Pope preaches on them in Italian. He may also issue greetings to people in their native languages, according to the different nationalities in attendance. After this, he will say a small prayer and impart his Apostolic Blessing on those attending. After the audience is done, the Pope will come near the newlyweds and greet them. Also, bring with you any religious objects so the pope may bless them.
As the Holy Father greets the newlyweds, there is a photographer taking several pictures. At the end of the audience, you will receive a small flyer pointing you to the time and place inside the Vatican where you can get your pictures — usually the next day.
If, for some reason, you are not able to go to Rome in time to receive your Sposi Novelli blessing, you can always request the Apostolic Blessing on your wedding on a parchment for your house, here.
For Catholics like us, marriage is a sacrament, one of the holiest things in the world. Having our marriage blessed by the Vicar of Christ himself is a privilege, and one of our fondest memories of our honeymoon.