If you want to see Pope Benedict XVI celebrate Mass in Washington or New York during his April 15-20 visit to the United States, you’ll want to be at your computer keyboard at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6. That’s when the Archdiocese of Baltimore will open its Web site for online ticket requests for the two historic events.
The pope will celebrate Mass at the new baseball stadium in Washington on April 17 and at Yankee Stadium in New York on April 20.
“We have a very limited number of tickets,” said Sean Caine, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “We are giving first priority to registered parishioners of the archdiocese. We’re trying to do it in the most equitable way we can, working under stringent deadlines.”
Individuals may request tickets for members of their household, Mr. Caine said. For security reasons, they will be required to provide their name, address and birth date. Catholics will be asked to identify their parish.
While both Masses are free, those interested in attending the New York Mass will be required to pay a $53 transportation fee to board chartered buses. They will only be able to gain access to the New York Mass by traveling on official archdiocesan buses, which will leave at 5 a.m. and return at midnight, Mr. Caine said.
“Once the determination is made about tickets, we will send out an e-mail alerting people where to pick them up,” said Mr. Caine, noting that tickets will be delivered to the parishes of vicars forane throughout the archdiocese for easy access. “We will also provide further information about what to do next.”
Mr. Caine said there have been numerous requests for tickets in recent weeks and he expects there to be high demand once the archdiocesan site is opened to requests. He noted that when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia used a similar system for distributing papal tickets, the tickets went quickly on the first day.
“The organizers at both events in New York and Washington want to make sure people who request tickets actually use them,” Mr. Caine said. “We don’t want empty seats.”
The archdiocesan Web site is www.archbalt.org.