Photo: Pope to travel to Mexico
Distribution of tickets for the Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate during his visit to the central Mexican state of Guanajuato is slated to start in the second week of March and all tickets being offered on the Internet are fake, Leon Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago said.
“Whoever says they have tickets available is obviously lying,” the archbishop said Sunday.
Martin Rabago said in a press conference that it would be difficult to estimate how many people might travel to Guanajuato to see the pope.
“I believe that any of us who gives an estimate could make a mistake. I have heard various figures from those who say 2 million might come, that 3 (million) will come, and some who still talk about more,” Martin Rabago said.
Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate an open-air Mass in the morning on March 25 at the city of Silao’s Guanajuato Bicentenario Park, which can hold about 300,000 people, all of whom will need tickets to enter, the archbishop said, adding that tickets would not be sold.
Only 500 people, including a priest from each of Mexico’s 91 dioceses and lay people who receive invitations, will participate in the praying of vespers on Saturday, March 24, at the Leon Cathedral, Martin Rabago said.
Leon is home to 1.4 million people and the massive influx of tourists is expected to overwhelm the city’s hotels, forcing many visitors to camp out in the public spaces set aside for that purpose by municipal officials.
The city government approved a measure last Friday to charge those camping out in Leon 200 pesos ($15.55).
The up to 160,000 visitors expected by city officials can go to visitapapalenleon.mx or call 01 800 5366 486 to reserve a camp site in Leon.
The biggest crowds are expected for the pope’s drives through the city on the afternoon of March 23, when he will arrive in Leon, and on March 26, the day that he will leave the Mexican city for Santiago, Cuba.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to stay at Leon’s Colegio Miraflores during his visit to Mexico.
No details have been released on the route to be taken by the Popemobile during Benedict XVI’s visit and officials have not said how many volunteers have been recruited to form the human wall planned along the route.
The Catholic Church has called for at least 75,000 young people to serve as volunteers in support tasks.
Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit three cities in Guanajuato.