Isabelle #1, a Catholic, was at our house cleaning the night white smoked billowed from the chimney at the Vatican indicating a new Pope had been elected. When the new Pope, Francis I, was announced she was ecstatic– her son is Francois. Her cell phone begin to ring and she started making calls on the house phone. It was a big deal! She thanked us profusely for asking her to stay and watch with us and told us how when 9/11 happened in the U.S., she was cleaning this same apartment and was able to watch as that news unfolded because the American guests then had asked her to stay as well.
We went to the Notre Dame to view the relics from the Passion of the Christ in a ceremony called The Veneration of the Crown of Thorns. They are said to be the actual crown of thorns from Christ’s crucifixion alongside a piece of the cross and a nail from the cross. At noon there was a mass service which we faked our way through (we are not Catholic). The relics were not due to be shown until 3pm so we had a long wait. When the procession finally began, several priests, bishops, nuns and knights in various robing and attire carried the relics to the alter. Then one by one each person (yes, even us Protestants) was allowed to approach the relics and kiss the crown of thorns that was encased in a glass ring. It was a special experience because the relics are only shown during Lent and scarce other occasions.