Just Another Day at Work…

Swiss Guard at Papal Mass on Sunday, October 21. Photo by Trisha Thomas

Just another day at work…..

This morning I went to St. Peter’s Square because I was supposed to have a brief interview with the head of Vatican Security, or Gendarmerie, for a story I am working on on the first woman photographer dedicated to covering the Pope and the Vatican (Blog Post coming soon on that).  It was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning and a crowd gathered for the Canonization Mass.  My colleagues Paolo Santalucia, Gigi Navarra and I filmed the Mass as we waited for the official to free himself from his duties.  Finally we were told to put our camera in position that he would be arriving shortly.

But just as we got in position, suddenly a Swiss Guard noticed that there was a man climbing around the edge of the Colonnade on the opposite side of the Square.  He had long brown hair, a khaki shirt and dark pants.  We focused our camera in on him.  He would not have survived if he plunged to the square below.  Security guards quickly arrived and were clearly trying to convince the man to come back from the edge.  The man yelled out in English. “Pope, Where is Christ?” and began burning pages of a green bible he was holding.  Our eyes were all riveted on him, as the scene dragged on.  Black suited security guards leaned over the railing talking to him, firefighters gathered behind him and a bishop arrived and gestured energetically to the man to come over.

Freeze Frame of APTN footage of Unstable Man on top of St. Peter's Colonnade. Shot by Paolo Santalucia

Pope Benedict XVI continued the mass apparently oblivious.  Few people in the crowd of faithful seemed aware of the drama going on above their heads.  As the mass ended, and the Pope left the square, the man tossed his book and climbed back over the balustrade to safety.  He was quickly hustled off by Vatican security guards. So much for my interview with the head of the Vatican’s Gendarmerie.  I guess he had more important things to do today.

 

Post in: Italiano

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    AdriBarr
    2011/10/24

    Was Tom Hanks among the party attempting to talk the fellow down?

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    jwthomas
    2011/10/26

    Amazing what some people will do for attention.

    Must have been hard to go back to your afternoon routine after that.

    You’re really cranking out the blogs this week!

    NJ

    Reply

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