.- One of the most striking sights in Rome appears every Wednesday afternoon in St. Peter’s Square when newly married couples, resplendent in their wedding attire, emerge after being blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
“I had never been to Rome before and could only imagine how beautiful and how sacred this place is … so I could not be happier than to get married and have that marriage blessed by the Pope,” said new bride Anna Barella, a 26-year-old from Naples, Florida.
Standing next to her was her husband, 25-year-old Kyle. They were married in Rome on Saturday, June 16 at the Church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini. On June 20 they were one of over a dozen couples to experience the papal tradition of newlyweds being blessed at the weekly general audience.
“I think it is great,” said Kyle, “I mean there is no better way to start your marriage than with a blessing from the Holy Father, and hopefully we’ll get a lot out of it.”
The Barellas applied for their special newlywed or “Sposi Novelli” tickets through the Bishop’s Office for U.S. Visitors to the Vatican, which is based in Rome.
Couples must have been married in the Church for two months or less, something that has to be verified by a valid Catholic sacramental marriage certificate. This is often further inspected by ushers before the papal audience itself. Both bride and groom are also encouraged to don their wedding attire.
“It was a great experience,” said the tuxedo-wearing German Axel Dreyer. The 40-year-old from Dusseldorf got married 10 days ago to 32-year-old Susie, and they are now enjoying a Roman honeymoon.
“Well, we always planned that when we got married we wanted to get a blessing from the Pope, because it is just like a second wedding and we loved it,” said Axel.
Wearing her wedding dress beneath the blistering mid-afternoon sun, the new Mrs. Dreyer remarked that “it is so hot I’m feeling that I have to jump into one of the fountains.”
She fully believed, however, that the discomfort was worth it to receive a blessing directly from Pope Benedict XVI.
Susie hopes that they will have a “good family life and that our children, when we have some, will also grow up in the beliefs of Jesus and the Catholic Church.”