How to attend mass at the Vatican

Written by michael roennevig Google
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How to attend mass at the Vatican
Attending mass at the Vatican is free. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

For a good Catholic, few things in life can compare to attending mass at St Peter's Basilica church or out in St Peter's Square in Vatican City. If you're planning a trip to Rome and are going to be passing close to the Vatican, attending mass will probably a lot easier than you think. Standard masses take place daily, but if you're looking to take part in something special, perhaps with Pope in attendance, you'll need to plan the timing of your visit.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Take a look at the liturgical calendar of celebrations on the Vatican's website to find out what events will be happening when you're due to be in Rome. You can just walk in off the street to attend standard mass at St Peter's Basilica, but will need tickets if you want to take in a mass with the Pope. Multiple standard masses take place between 08:30 and 17:00 during the week and on Saturdays and between 09:00 and 17:45 on Sundays. All standard masses are delivered in Italian.

  2. 2

    Visit the Swiss Guards office at the "Bronze Doors" located just after security at St Peter's Basilica to request free tickets if you want to attend a papal audience/mass. Capacity fills up quickly, so the earlier you request tickets, the better. You can ask for tickets up to three days before an event. All tickets are free. If you want to pre-book tickets or will be travelling in a party larger than 10, fax a ticket request form to the Vatican offices.

  3. 3

    Arrive for your Papal mass early. Holding a ticket is no guarantee that you'll secure entry. If St Peter's Basilica or St Peter's Square is full, you'll be turned away. Showing up early will also allow you to grab a good vantage point from which to view the pontiff. You should be all but assured a good spot if you turn up two or three hours before the secluded start of a papal audience/mass.

Tips and warnings

  • You'll need to observe a strictly-enforced dress code when attending mass at the Vatican. Failure to do so could see you denied entry. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts are allowed. Keep your look as conservative as possible to avoid disappointment.

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