Capitol opportunity to see the pope, courtesy of NJ lawmakers

 Federal legislators from New Jersey are holding lotteries to distribute tickets to see Pope Francis speak before Congress. The speech will be simulcast to crowds outside.  (<a href=Photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_110832659" width="640" height="360"/>

Federal legislators from New Jersey are holding lotteries to distribute tickets to see Pope Francis speak before Congress. The speech will be simulcast to crowds outside. (Photo via ShutterStock)

Philadelphia and New York aren’t the only places Pope Francis will stop during his visit to the U.S. this month. He’ll also be in the nation’s capital, and some New Jersey Congressmen are giving residents of the Garden State a chance to be there.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell said about 50 tickets will be made available in a lottery for residents in his North Jersey district to see a simulcast of the pope’s address to a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24.

“These are all standing room outside on the West Lawn. They’re not for sale, these tickets, and your travel and accommodations, that’s up to you, the individual,” said Pascrell. “You’ve got to get to Washington on your own. It’s not going to be easy to do that.”

A lottery is the best way to determine who gets the tickets, he said.

“This is simply an issue of trying to get the tickets out to those who really want to go. I think it’s the fairest way to do it because, once you start picking and having favorites, you get into a lot of trouble,” he said. “You cannot win in that situation.”

U.S. Reps. Tom MacArthur, who represents parts of Burlington and Ocean counties, and Leonard Lance are holding similar lotteries, and Pascrell believes it would be a good idea for more of his colleagues to follow suit.

It will be exciting to see the pope, Pascrell said.

“Trying to make it as comfortable as possible for folks, so that they don’t have to become too inconvenienced because people want to get a picture of the pope, they want to see the pope, they want to be blessed by the pope in person,” he said. “You can’t do that on television.”

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