Wednesday morning in Rome, I went to a latin Mass with some friends in St. Peter's. The Mass was at one of the side altars- the altar of Pope St. Gregory the Great. The basilica was quiet and somewhat dark, and I could barely hear the words spoken by the priest as he celebrated Mass facing the altar, but I followed along in an English handbook.
A few hours later, the entire Franciscan group went to the Pope's weekly general audience. The hall was packed, of course, and there was a traditional Bavarian band there to play for Pope Benedict. We were there an hour and a half before it started, and we passed the time in excited anticipation. Then he finally entered, a small white figure on the far-away stage. His voice was soft with a pleasant German accent. I think it is safe to say that this was my most memorable Ash Wednesday, because I got to see the Pope and hear him speak.