By Sarah Mac Donald - 26 June, 2018
Over 300,000 tickets were booked online on Monday by those who wish to Pope Francis when he visits Knock and the Phoenix Park in August.
The “unprecedented” interest saw 45,000 tickets for the Pontiff’s visit to Knock on the morning of Sunday 26 August snapped up in less than four hours on the first day the tickets were made available.
At 5am on Monday morning, the free tickets were released for Knock and all the tickets for this event were gone by 9.12am.
Organisers revealed that over 285,000 tickets had also been booked by Monday afternoon for the closing Mass of WMOF2018 in the Phoenix Park on 26 August.
All of the 80,000 tickets for the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday 25 August are also gone, as are the tickets for the Pastoral Congress, which is taking place in the RDS in Dublin from 22 – 24 August.
A total of 37,000 registrations have been received for the Congress which is a paid event with tickets from €38 per adult for a one-day booking. Children under 18 get in free.
Registrations for the Pastoral Congress show that people from 114 countries will be attending.
Speaking about the scale of Monday’s bookings, Fr Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General of the WMOF2018, said that he was hugely encouraged by the response to all of the WMOF2018 events – those with Pope Francis and those that will take place before the Pope arrives in Ireland.
“It is clear that what Pope Francis is saying about family, faith and society, is connecting with a wide range of people. We are working hard to make the WMOF2018 a joyful, welcoming and comfortable event for all those who wish to attend,” Fr Barlett said.
“While I know that many people will be disappointed that they have not managed to get tickets for Knock Shrine or for the RDS Pastoral Congress, I would encourage them to come to the Mass in Phoenix Park for a joyful celebration of faith and the good news of family in our lives. It will also be a memorable and historic occasion.”
Organisers of WMOF2018 say they are confident that they have robust systems in place to validate all bookings received.
There are concerns that members of the ‘Say Nope to the Pope’ protest group are making bogus bookings to try and ensure a low turnout.
The WMOF2018 events over the days 21 – 26 August include: