The Catholic Church in the country will not be selling tickets for the Mass of Pope Francis at Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila on January 18 next year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said at a news conference on Thursday.
Millions of devotees are expected to attend the Rizal Park Mass, one of several the Pope will celebrate during his five-day visit to the country beginning January 15.
“No tickets will be sold but again to emphasize the theme of ‘Mercy and Compassion,’ only PWDs [Persons with Disability] and the handicapped will be given special IDs for the Luneta Mass,” CBCP Secretary General Fr. Marvin Mejia said.
Mejia added that the Church will ask its 86 archdioceses and dioceses to each send five PWDs or representatives from the poor sector.
He said the dioceses will be responsible for accommodation and transportation of the PWDs.
Mejia added that they will invite 20 priests for the Mass in Luneta and five representatives from the religious groups.
At the same news conference, Fr. Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director and Radyo Veritas president, said the Church is now accepting donations to help defray expenses during the papal visit.
Pascual added that interested donors in Manila can get in touch with the Finance Committee for the papal visit. The committee is headed by Palo Archbishop John Du and Msgr. Clem Ignacio.
He said the Vatican wanted the visit of Francis to be a simple, not a lavish, occasion.
A Church insider said the Catholic Church wants to limit the expenses of the pontiff’s visit to P70 million.
Among the expected expenses are the LED screens and portable toilets that will be placed in areas where crowds will converge to see the pope.