Papal Mass tickets will not be for seats in TransWorld Dome
By Loretta Shea Kline
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY - The 1,100 people from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who receive tickets to the papal Mass Jan. 27 in St. Louis will not be seated in the Trans World Dome where the Mass will be held.
They will instead view the celebration on closed-circuit television from an adjoining hall of the America's Center convention complex, which includes the dome.
In a letter included with the Pastoral Bulletin, which was mailed to parishes Dec. 4, Bishop Raymond J. Boland asked that pastors and administrators inform parishioners slated to receive tickets where the seats will be located. Some may not wish to make the trip to St. Louis "if they had their hearts set on being in the stadium," he wrote.
Bishop Boland was informed of the seating arrangement in a Dec. 3 telephone conversation with Msgr. Richard Stika, coordinator of the papal visit for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
"Naturally, I had hoped that some of our allotment of tickets might be in the stadium," Bishop Boland said. But as the former coordinator of a papal visit (he coordinated Pope John Paul II's visit to Washington, D.C., in 1979), he added, "I can well understand the constraints under which the St. Louis committee is working."
Ticket holders from the other dioceses in the Midwest region - including the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Missouri dioceses of Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau - will be seated in the convention center as well. Seating in the stadium is being reserved for people from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Those seated in the convention center will be able to follow the Mass on giant television screens and receive Communion, event planners have said. Msgr. Stika also indicated that Pope John Paul II would pass through the convention center on his way to and from the Mass in the dome, Bishop Boland said.
The Pope is visiting St. Louis as a favor to Archbishop Justin Rigali, who served at the Vatican prior to his appointment in St. Louis, Bishop Boland said. He added that he is grateful to the St. Louis Archdiocese "for any consideration for providing us access to the papal events."
Tickets allotted for Kansas City-St. Joseph will be distributed to parishes as soon as they are sent to the Diocese, Bishop Boland said. Some tickets are being reserved for priests, deacons, religious and Diocesan staff members, he said.
Women religious interested in obtaining tickets should contact Sister Mary Helen McInerney at (816) 756-1850, Ext. 266.
The number of tickets parishes will receive is based on size, with 12 tickets going to the largest parishes, 10 to medium-sized parishes, eight to smaller parishes and two to missions, Bishop Boland said. While it is up to parishes to decide how they will distribute tickets, most are conducting lotteries, he said.
Because of tight security, tickets are non-transferrable, meaning they can only be used by the original ticket holders.
The pontiff's visit will mark the first time a Pope has visited Missouri.
"It's a moment of grace for the whole Midwest," Bishop Boland said. For more information on the papal visit, call 1-800-916-9630.