I'm sure, by now, you have heard that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of February.  He will be the first Pope since the 1500's to resign.  I'm not Catholic, but Pope Benedict XVI is very special to me.  My husband and I were lucky enough to be blessed by him while in Italy in 2011.

My husband and I spent 18 days in Italy in 2011, 4 of those days were dedicated to Rome.  My heart hurts when I speak about Rome.  It's a city that will change your life.  I want to be back there.  Like right now.

I kinda liked it....

Anyway, while in Rome, we went to the Vatican, did the whole tour.  Saw the Sistine Chapel, experienced St. Peter's and took it all in.

Georgia
Georgia

The Vatican was amazing.  But what was even more amazing was our trip to Castle Gandolfo.  Castle Gandolfo is the Pope's summer retreat.  We were in Italy in August, a time in which most Italians take off for vacations.  The Pope heads outside the city limits about 45 minutes to Castle Gandolfo.

Georgia

We were lucky enough to travel to the castle on a Sunday.  Every Sunday at noon, the Pope holds a special service to bless everyone that shows up.  We stood in a courtyard in the castle for about an hour before Pope Benedict XVI came out and said a blessing in about 20 different languages.  Remarkably, I understood more of his Italian blessing, than when he spoke in English!  Either way, it was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Georgia
Georgia

Everyone in the audience was cheering and chanting.  And when Pope Benedict started speaking in their particular language - they went crazy.  It was quite a spectacle!

It's a time in my life that I will never forget.  I will be sad to see Pope Benedict XVI go, but it will be exciting to watch the process of picking a new Pope.  That's another experience that only happens (usually) once in a lifetime - sometimes even if that!