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    Papal tickets revive interest in visit for some suburban parishes

     The view of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. It's expected to be filled with more than a million papal pilgrims at the end of the month.  (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

    The view of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. It's expected to be filled with more than a million papal pilgrims at the end of the month. (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

    This week, officials released a slew of new information about Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia later this month.

    Monsignor John C. Marine, who leads St. Bede the Venerable parish in Holland, Pennsylvania, said he’s seen an uptick in interest from parishioners after they heard about the availability of tickets.

    “We’ve already received numerous calls from people who saw it on the news and are trying to get the tickets,” said Marine.

    The World Meeting of Families, which is organizing the events, announced it would distribute tickets to papal events, and that 219 Archdiocese of Philadelphia parishes would get dibs on some prime pope-watching real estate.

    St. Bede’s received 478 tickets for both the Festival of Families Sept. 26 and the papal Mass Sept. 27 for a spot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th and 22nd streets.

    Parishes in the Philadelphia area received larger shares of tickets while the Diocese of Allentown, for instance, received 200 tickets total.

    Officials also announced last week that registered buses could drop papal pilgrims off at South Street, cutting down on the walk or SEPTA commute to the Parkway.

    As more information trickles out, Marine said his parishioners have turned from apprehensive to excited.

    “I’m glad to see that. I feel like it’s turning around,” said Marine. “Some people had previously said, ‘No, I’ll just watch it on TV. It’s too much of a hassle.’ Well now, many are people getting the sense that it’s not gonna be as restrictive as we first thought.”

    Starting at noon Tuesday, the World Meeting of Families will begin distributing tickets — 10,000 to the Festival of Families and 10,000 to the papal Mass — to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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