By Sarah Mac Donald - 10 July, 2018
Half a million free tickets for closing Mass of WMOF2018 snapped up in less than two weeks.
Those who have secured tickets to see Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on 26 August will receive their tickets by email by 31 July.
Media and Communications Manager for the World Meeting of Families, Brenda Drumm, told RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland programme on Monday that those who have booked for Knock will get their tickets by 10 August.
She added, “We will be in touch with the those for the RDS and Croke Park separately.”
The half a million tickets allocated to the Phoenix Park event were booked up by early Sunday evening, less than two weeks after they became available.
According to Brenda Drumm, organisers of WMOF2018 will do their best to reissue any tickets that come back to their office from those who can’t attend on 26 August.
But she appealed to those who don’t have a ticket, “please make plans to watch it on television or listen to it on the radio – please don’t show up to venues without a ticket”.
Some parishes and dioceses are already making plans to bring people who didn’t secure a ticket together to watch the papal Mass and visit to Knock in a communal setting on television.
Commenting on the tickets being booked out so far in advance of the papal Mass, Fr Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General of the WMOF2018, said those involved in organising the World Meeting of Families were not surprised at the very high levels of interest.
“While I was cautious at the beginning, and while I am a little surprised every part of the event is booked out six weeks in advance, including the Mass for half-a-million people in Phoenix Park, I am not surprised at all by the incredibly high levels of interest. Family is important to all of us. People like what Pope Francis is saying about family and the Church.”
He explained that the limits set on attendance were set by statutory agencies with responsibility for health and safety.
“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. Many parishes and dioceses are also arranging gatherings so as people who are unable to attend in person can feel part of the Mass and the other events with Pope Francis.”
Fr Bartlett made a particular appeal to those coming to the Mass in Phoenix Park to plan their journey well in advance.
“We are working with the Gardai and other authorities to make the WMOF2018 a joyful, welcoming and comfortable event. But it is vital everybody thinks through how they will get to and from the Mass, what they will bring with them in terms of seating, clothing and food.”
Facilities in the Park are being prepared, including water, food outlets and toilets. There will also be music, singing and other activities before and after Pope Francis is there.
However, Fr Bartlett said families and individuals should try to come with groups where they can and use coaches and public transport to reduce the impact on the environment and pressure on the roads.
“Parish groups and others need to come together and figure out how they can help those who are on their own or who need extra help physically getting to the site of the Mass. Now is the time to start planning. Now is the time to come together as the family of families to help one another prepare for and enjoy this incredible, historic event, which Pope Francis will celebrate with us.”
Statistics for the bookings show that as many as 116 countries are represented in bookings for the Phoenix Park Mass.
Registered overseas visitors exceed 15,000 people, which approximately 46% of those planning to attend the closing Mass of WMOF2018 gave an address in Dublin. The balance of the remaining bookings are spread evenly across the country.
Over half of those registered to attend the World Meeting of Families in the RDS are parents with children under 18 years of age. This pattern is expected to be similar at the Final Mass in the Phoenix Park.
The WMOF2018 is asking people to check parish and diocesan websites for updates and information between now and the events in August. They are also asking people to regularly check the public service information being provided by the statutory agencies involved – www.gov.ie/popeinireland