The bells were calling to us as we hurried along to early morning mass at St Peter's. We moved through security and then up the steps, passing one priest after another whose walk, by contrast, was slow and measured.
As we crowded around the grilled doors, the line of priests waiting calmly to one side grew, each of them with a prayer book or their neatly pressed white alb folded under their arm. They rested against the balustrade, keeping a little apart from one another in reflective silence, their backs warmed by the sun as it rose over the top of Bernini's colonade.
At five to seven the guard entrusted with the keys of St Peter's fumbled with the huge padlock and unlocked it, and the small crowd surged forward in anticipation. We crossed ourself with holy water from the huge sconces, nodding to the marble cherubs as we moved on.
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