Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tickets For Pope Francis' Speech On Independence Mall Available Starting Tuesday September 8th At Noon

The Philadelphia Archdiocese says tickets will be available starting today for Pope Francis' speech on Independence Mall later this month.

Beginning at 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, 10,000 tickets will be available to the public for the September 26th event.

You can claim tickets online by visiting www.worldmeeting2015.org/tickets

Tickets are on a first-come, first-serve basis and individuals are limited to four tickets.

Specific ticketing information has yet to be released for two other events, the Festival of Families and Pope Francis' Mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway. We do know those tickets will be made available on Wednesday, September 9th.

A total of 30,000 tickets will be made available for the public events.

The tickets will be divided up as follows:

    For Pope Francis' speech at 12 p.m. Saturday, September 26th on Independence Mall, the total number of tickets available to the public has been increased from 5,000 to 10,000. The tickets will be available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis on Tuesday, September 8th.

    For the Festival of Families on Saturday, September 26th, 10,000 tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Wednesday, September 9th. The Festival of Families event begins at approximately 12:00 p.m.

    For the papal Mass at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 27th, an additional 10,000 tickets are being made available. The tickets will also be available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis on Wednesday, September 9th.

The announcement about the need for tickets came as something of a surprise on Wednesday. When we asked on Thursday what changed, the executive director of the World Meeting of Families, Donna Crilley Farrell said:

"We had always predicated some limited ticketing, and as we worked through security arrangements and plans were being made final, we knew how the Parkway was going to be laid out. For security reasons and crowd management, we have ticketed areas."

When asked how tickets make the event safer, Farrell said "You'd have to talk to a crowd management expert about that, but in certain areas you don't want huge crowds. You have to be able to limit the number of people in crowds."

Tickets are also being distributed to the 219 parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, as well as surrounding parishes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Some church social service programs will also get tickets, as will other faith communities, church officials said.

It was not known how many tickets, in total, would be issued.

"We're not going to release the specific numbers for ticketing," Farrell said.

A map released on Wednesday by the United States Secret Service showed a red zone, for ticket holders, surrounding the Philadelphia Museum of Art and extending to 20th Street.

From 20th Street and extending to City Hall is a purple zone, where no ticket will be needed.

The ticketing announcement comes just a week after a new marketing campaign, "I'll Be There," was unveiled to encourage attendance at the papal events, driven in part by fears that months of discussions about tight security restrictions had scared many people away from attending.

Sales of hotel rooms remain slower that expected. There have been price cuts showing up, but still about a one-third of the rooms in Center City remain unsold.

"There is a sense of urgency but there's not panic yet for the weekend. There's still plenty of time to book those rooms," said Ed Grose of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.

Rail pass sales remain flat and organizers confirmed charter bus registrations were at least 70 percent below expectations.

However, Farrell said she does not believe there will be fewer than the 1.5 million visitors who are expected, saying "I really don't think so, again, based on the calls we get."

Church officials have estimated that as many as 1.5 million people will attend the papal Mass.

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