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Tickets available for N.Y. papal Mass


Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the crowd during his weekly general audience at the Vatican Jan. 30. The archdiocese announced this week that 3,000 tickets are being made available to Bostonians who wish to attend the April 20 papal Mass in New York City. CNS photo/Chris Helgren, Reuters

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BOSTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced that 3,000 tickets would be available to local Catholics who wish to attend the papal Mass in New York City on April 20. The Mass at Yankee Stadium is the close of Pope Benedict XVI’s first apostolic visit to the United States.

In a Jan. 30 statement, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley expressed his “deep gratitude” to the Holy Father for his U.S. visit and to Cardinal Edward A. Egan, Archbishop of New York, for reserving the slots for Boston Catholics.

“It will be a privilege for me to concelebrate this special Mass and that so many of our Catholic faithful will be able to experience it firsthand,” he added.

The cardinal appointed Scot Landry, archdiocesan secretary for advancement, to coordinate the one-day pilgrimage to New York. The event will be part of the Archdiocese of Boston’s bicentennial celebration and occur the same weekend as the Boston Men’s and Women’s Conferences.

The women’s conference will be held April 18 from 5-9:30 p.m. and the men’s conference will occur the following day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both will take place at Boston College.

Scot Landry, also one of the founders of the conferences, said that this year organizers tried to hold them close to the archdiocese’s anniversary on April 8. When they discovered that the Holy Father would be traveling to the United States the same weekend of the conferences, they sought to integrate the conferences and the papal visit.

“We think the combination of the two events would lead to a really deep spiritual weekend for Catholics in the archdiocese,” he said. “For most of the Catholics from Boston who will be traveling on this pilgrimage, it will be the first time that they’ll be able to see Pope Benedict XVI.”

Landry said the pilgrimage is one of the “central events” of the bicentennial celebration, part of the reason that Boston received so many tickets.

Four archdioceses -- Boston, Louisville, New York and Philadelphia -- all formed from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the first diocese in the United States, are celebrating their 200th anniversaries this year.

“Cardinal Egan very much wanted this papal Mass to not only be a celebration of the Archdiocese of New York’s bicentennial but the bicentennial of the other three dioceses that were created at the same time,” he said.

On his apostolic journey, themed “Christ Our Hope,” Pope Benedict will visit Washington D.C., meeting with President George W. Bush on April 16. He will also celebrate Mass at the Nationals Park April 17.

The following day he will travel to New York where he will address the United Nations. Before the April 20 Mass at Yankee Stadium, he will visit Ground Zero.

For Boston Catholics, the pilgrimage to New York will last almost 20 hours. It will begin April 20 at 4:30 a.m. with the buses arriving at Yankee Stadium at 9 a.m. The program begins at noon and Mass at 2:30 p.m. The buses will depart New York at about 8 p.m. and arrive in the archdiocese around 11:30 p.m.

Bus departures will take place at several locations throughout the archdiocese.

In order to request tickets, Boston parishioners should fill out the online form at the bicentennial’s Web site, www.Boston200.org. Those who do not have access to computers can call The Catholic Foundation at 617-779-3700. All ticket requests must be received before Feb. 11 at 5 p.m.

Those requesting tickets must be at least 14 years of age. Catholics between 14 and 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or be part of a sponsored school or parish trip.

Individuals can request up to five tickets, and groups can request up to 50 tickets. Each ticket request must be accompanied by a $60 per person transportation fee that will be refunded if no ticket is issued. All the tickets are non-transferable.

If the archdiocese receives more than 3,000 requests, there will be a lottery for the tickets. Preference may be given to individual and small group requests in order to allow more groups of Catholics throughout the archdiocese to participate in the pilgrimage.

Complete information on requesting tickets to the papal Mass is available at www.Boston200.org.

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