Tickets are scarce for upcoming papal visit - Catholic Courier

Tickets are scarce for upcoming papal visit

Interest is running high for Pope Benedict XVI’s springtime visit to Washington, D.C., and New York City. However, people from the Rochester Diocese wishing to see the pontiff in the flesh are likely out of luck unless they’ve already applied for tickets.

Most events during the pope’s tour, planned for April 15-20, are by invitation only. The only opportunities for the general public will be two outdoor Masses at major-league baseball stadiums: Nationals Park in Washington on April 17 and Yankee Stadium in New York on April 20. The Washington and New York archdioceses are handling ticket distribution, giving priority to Catholics from their own and neighboring dioceses. As a result, the Rochester Diocese won’t get tickets for the Washington liturgy but is being allotted 500 tickets for the Sunday-afternoon Mass in New York City.

According to officials of the Rochester Diocese, local parishes were invited to enter a lottery for the Yankee Stadium tickets, with the application deadline of late December having already passed. The diocese is arranging bus service to and from New York City for those whose names are drawn.

The New York Archdiocese emphasized that all tickets are free and not transferable, with all applicants — including those from Rochester — having been required to supply identification information. For more details on the Yankee Stadium Mass and other aspects of the pope’s trip, visit www.archny.org or call 212-371-1011, ext. 7673.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to arrive in the nation’s capital on the evening of Tuesday, April 15. He will receive an official welcome at the White House on April 16, his 81st birthday, meeting with President George W. Bush. He will then meet with U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A day later he will celebrate Mass at Nationals Park; address presidents of Catholic universities and diocesan education leaders at the Catholic University of America; and meet with representatives of other religions at the John Paul II Cultural Center.

He will travel from Washington to New York City on April 18, addressing the United Nations General Assembly that morning before attending an ecumenical meeting in Manhattan that afternoon. On April 19, the third anniversary of his election as pope, he will preside over a morning Mass for priests, deacons and religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; meet with disabled children at the St. Joseph’s Seminary chapel in Yonkers; then attend a youth and seminarian rally on the seminary grounds. The pope’s final day in New York will start with a memorial service at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, followed by the Mass at Yankee Stadium. He will depart from New York to Rome that evening.

This will mark the closest any pope has come to the Rochester Diocese since John Paul II presided over World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002. It will be Pope Benedict’s first visit to the United States since assuming the papacy, as well as the fourth-ever papal visit to New York City. The first was made by Pope Paul VI in 1965; the second and third were by John Paul II in 1979 and 1995. Pope Benedict — then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — also visited the city in January 1988 for a theological conference in Manhattan.

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