herald

Friday 21 September 2018

Half-a-million make Pope in the Park a sell-out

Francis will celebrate mass in Phoenix Park on August 26
Francis will celebrate mass in Phoenix Park on August 26

Half-a-million people have booked tickets to see Pope Francis celebrate Mass in Phoenix Park next month.

No more tickets are available for the event on August 26. Forty-six per cent of them were snapped up by people with Dublin addresses.

Registered overseas visitors account for more than 15,000 tickets.

The Phoenix Park event is one of a number the Pope will attend over the course of his 48-hour visit to Ireland, the first Papal engagement in the country since 1979.

People are expected to fly in from at least 116 different countries to see the pontiff.

Protest

The free tickets for Phoenix Park went live for booking on June 25, with nearly 300,000 taken up within the first 24 hours.

However, there was some controversy in the early stages of the tickets being made available.

Activists from a "Nope to the Pope" protest campaign said they had been applying for tickets in bulk, without any intention of attending the Mass.

One such protester claims to have booked 692 tickets because he wanted to "drive home the message" that the Irish people are not happy with the Catholic Church.

Speaking of the tickets being booked out more than six weeks in advance of the visit, the secretary general of the World Meeting of Families, Fr Timothy Bartlett, said he was not surprised.

"While I know many will be disappointed they have not managed to get tickets for Knock Shrine or the Phoenix Park, we will be broadcasting these events live for those who were unable to secure a ticket," he said.

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