30,000 additional tickets — and now two Papal parades for Philly. The World Meeting of Families [WMOF] made that announcement one day after sparking an uproar with late news that the general public would not be able to get up close to the pope during his times on the Parkway.
Now Pope Francis will parade along the Parkway on Saturday before the Festival of Families on September 26 and again on Sunday before his 4 p.m. Papal Mass.
The WMOF made the parades and more tickets announcements Thursday, one day after sparking an uproar when confirming a Secret Service map that got out before it was supposed to, was indeed correct, showing the most coveted seats near the Papal stage both days were reserved for "Ticket Holders."
The ticket surprise came after months of reminders by the WMOF that Philly would be the one place on the U.S. tour where anyone could have free access to the pope's big events. Much like forgetting to read the fine print, the organization did not clearly communicate that the general public would not be able to get up within five blocks of the pope. (The archdiocese clarified late Thursday that the Pope stage will be set up in front of Eakins Oval and that the ticketed area will only be about 2-1/2 blocks long, rather than five blocks.)
"Changing the game this close to the event is just not fair," said Ed Grose, who showed up Thursday afternoon, anxious to hear the WMOF's explanation for leaving insiders like Grose as surprised as the public, adding one-third of the city's hotel rooms were still available and while people were not feeling panicked, there was a sense of nervousness.
"I'm going to listen with an open mind," Grose said. "But I have to say, it's becoming more and more of a challenge to sell this event."
Attempts Wednesday by the Archdiocese and WMOF to put an optimistic spin on the news were met with outright anger on social media by some folks including Michael Bayer from Iowa City, Iowa who is driving with a Catholic group to Philly for the Papal visit. He tweeted:
"None, repeat NONE [tickets] for groups like ours that are driving 18 hours each way on a bus from Iowa. Ridiculous."
Another woman complained she wanted a refund for her SEPTA pope passes because she felt duped.
The 30,000 general admission tickets for Papal events -- including getting into the Parkway above 20th Street -- will become available next week and divvied up as follows:
- 10K tickets for Immigration Speech at Independence Hall -- these become available Tuesday, Sept. 8 on a first come, first get basis.
- 10K tickets for Saturday's Festival of Families -- these become available Wednesday, Sept. 9 on a first come, first get basis.
- 10K tickets for Sunday's Papal Mass -- also available Wednesday to the first people who submit online requests.
Four tickets will be the maximum available to any one person. All ticketing will be done online, not in person. Instructions on how to access the tickets will be released Friday, Sept. 4 by the World Meeting of Families.