Costs won’t exclude anyone from ‘once-in-a-generation Mass’ with Pope

BISHOP Philip Tartaglia has summed up well what many are thinking about the Papal Visit in spite of the tabloid headlines this week to the contrary.

The Paisley bishop, president of the Church’s communications commission, described Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass in Bellahouston Park on September 16 as ‘a once-in-a-generation Mass with the Holy Father on Scottish soil.’

He has also urged parishes to show innovation and imagination when it comes to raising funds to cover the considerable costs of the event so that they are spread across all parishioners in a way that will ensure that ‘all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means.’

The letters that have gone out to all parishes with details of ticket allocation say that ‘in order to cover costs of transport, a contribution towards the pilgrim pack’ parishes are asked to ‘contribute £20 per person.’

“The arrangements we are making are designed to address the security requirements which the police consider to be necessary,” according to Mgr Peter Smith who is involved in the Papal Visit planning. “I hope that working together we can ensure a memorable encounter with the Holy Father as he celebrates Mass here in Scotland.

“It is important to note that [parish groups] group must travel together under the direction of the pilgrim leader. Travel arrangements are being organised centrally and, because of the security arrangements, parishes will not be able to use their own transport.”

However, meeting the travel costs is the responsibility of the parish.

“Scottish pilgrims travelling to the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park will not be expected to pay a charge to attend,” a spokesman for the Catholic Church said.

“Instead, parishes will be asked to contribute to the overall cost of the event.”

Parishes can expect to be able to offer tickets to approximately half of their congregation. Tickets will not be distributed according to ability to pay.

Priests have been asked to send their ticket requests to the Papal Visit office in Airdrie by next Monday.

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