Sunday 23 September 2018

'Overwhelming by any standards' - 480,000 tickets snapped up to see Pope Francis in Phoenix Park

Pope Francis. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo
Pope Francis. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

Rachel Farrell

Anyone hoping to see Pope Francis in Phoenix Park had better act as fast as an incredible 480,000 tickets have already been snapped up, according to organisers.

Just 20,000 tickets remain for the much-anticipated event are still available. 

Organisers from the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) said the response has been "overwhelming" and are encouraging mass-goers to get their tickets before they're all gone.

"The request for tickets for all the World Meeting of Families 2018 events has been overwhelming by any standards," said Brenda Drumm, media and communications manager at the World Meeting of Families.

"Within a 48-hour period almost 400,000 tickets for Phoenix Park alone have been booked. Bookings for Phoenix Park this morning are at 480,000, meaning we have just 20,000 tickets left."

All 45,000 tickets for the Pope's visit to Knock were snapped up almost immediately. Tickets for the pastoral congress in the RDS are also sold out. 

According to organisers, the WMOF received 37,000 registrations from 114 countries across the globe for the RDS event, and the congress will see a high amount of young people in attendance.

"Most of these are young parents with children," Ms. Drumm said.

"We have 6,000 under-18s coming to the RDS alone. This is the highest registration of this age group for any World Meeting to date."

When the tickets were released, a group of protesters from the 'Say Nope To The Pope' Facebook page claimed they were able to book hundreds of tickets to the Mass in the Phoenix Park despite having no intentions to go.

One man said he has managed to secure 692 tickets as part of a Facebook campaign group to boycott the Papal visit.

Administrators of the page said in a statement yesterday that they never intended to "take tickets away from the public".

They said: "It is not our intent to take tickets away from the public. It was never our intent to stand in the way of anyone attending this event. We have not taken anyone's ticket away from them and we are not trying to stop anyone practicing their religion.

"It's important to note at this point that this protest is aimed at The Phoenix Park only. No one from this protest has secured any tickets for the Knock event.

"The page was simply created to see if anyone shared the same interest in deliberately not attending by applying for a ticket to which you are entitled and not using it as a sign of peaceful and silent protest against the church and its crimes, not against its devoted followers."

Ms. Drumm said that while it was "disappointing" to see people attempt to boycott the event, organisers are "not overly concerned".

"It is disappointing that some people would try to undermine the right of ordinary families to go to Mass with the Holy Father, showing little respect for the right to religious freedom," she said. 

"However, the WMOF2018 is confident that it has robust systems in place to check all bookings and there will be a number of verification requirements before people actually receive a ticket.

"We are not overly concerned by the relatively small number of false bookings. This was not unexpected with an event of this scale for which tickets were free."

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