National Catholic Register


World Prepares to Meet Benedict



February 24-March 1, 2008 Issue | Posted 2/19/08 at 2:21 PM


Pope Benedict XVI didn’t officially announce his trip to America until the second week of February.

But by then interest in the visit, which had been in the planning stages for months, had already swelled in host cities Washington, D.C., New York — and beyond.

According to Joe Zwilling, director of communications with the Archdiocese of New York, the archdiocese has received, and continues to receive, requests for tickets for the Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Zwilling reports that the requests are more than double the seating capacity of about 57,000.

He has received ticket requests from all 50 states, Central and South America, Canada, and Europe. Every diocese has requested tickets to the Mass.

Zwilling also reported that they have invited two representatives — priests, deacons, or religious, or some combination— from every diocese to attend the Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday, April 19, and they have invited every major seminarian and religious in formation to attend the Pope’s Meeting with Youth and Seminarians that will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, April 19 at St. Joseph Seminary.

Welcome to the chaos of a papal visit.

Pope Benedict’s weeklong stay in America will be the longest U.S. papal visit since 1983, when Pope John Paul II visited the United States and Canada for 10 days. It will be one of two major events putting the Holy Father at the center of world attention in 2008. The other is his second World Youth Day since becoming Pope. This one in Sydney.

This correspondent will be attending the major papal events in Washington, New York and Sydney. To help readers sort out the events — both before they begin and once they are underway — the Register has launched the website providing news on plans and tickets and featuring blogging from the events themselves.