September 08, 2015

You needed more than a prayer to snag papal tickets

The World Meeting of Families distributed free tickets to the Festival of Families and papal Mass

Free tickets to see public events that will be attended by Pope Francis on Benjamin Franklin Parkway were made available at two different times Wednesday. They didn't last long.

The World Meeting of Families released 10,000 tickets for the papal Mass at 8 p.m. and they were claimed in less than a minute. Earlier, 10,000 tickets to the Festival of Families were made available at 4 p.m. and were distributed within minutes, if not faster. 

Both events are open to the public without tickets, but a significant chunk of the Parkway, including the best sightlines, is reserved for ticket-holders.

The ticketed area stretches from Eakins Oval to 20th Street and will provide the closest views of the papal stage.

Event organizers initially allocated tickets strictly to the 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Catholic Social Services, among other select groups. 

Backlash to that announcement, however, led event organizers to release additional tickets to the public. They have not announced the total number of tickets being distributed beyond the 10,000 available to the public.

Pope Francis will parade down the Parkway to City Hall during Festival of Families, offering anyone gathered along the Parkway an opportunity to see him up-close. A smaller parade is being planned for the papal Mass on Sunday, but details have not been announced.

Event organizers also doubled the number of tickets available to see Pope Francis speak at Independence Mall. Those 10,000 tickets were claimed within two minutes of being made available Tuesday. To the disdain of event organizers, they immediately began popping up on the secondary marketplace.

Pope Francis' speech from Independence Mall and the Festival of Families take place Saturday, Sept. 26. The papal Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, Sept. 27.

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