What does Pope Francis want to visit during his Sept. 24-25 whirlwind touchdown in New York?
Who does he want to meet?
How can we get a glimpse of him?
And what’s our chance of meeting him face-t0-face?
Cardinal Dolan takes on all these questions in a recent Catholic New York news story.
By Ron Lajoi
Catholic New York
Some of these would be “must see” stops for any traveler on a whirlwind 36-hour visit to the Big Apple. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is of course on the itinerary. So are the United Nations, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and Madison Square Garden. But so is Our Lady Queen of Angels, an inner-city Catholic elementary school in East Harlem, certainly a less likely tourist attraction. But Pope Francis is no ordinary visitor.
“The Pope is very gracious in saying I’m trusting you. What would you like me to see?” said Cardinal Dolan at an informal press briefing June 30 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to discuss the Holy Father’s impending visit to New York Sept. 24-25 as part his larger visit to the United States. New York is the second leg of a three-city visit that begins in Washington, D.C., two days earlier.
“From the beginning he let it be known that he obviously was going to the U.N., that he wanted to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But he wanted to see, and these were his words, an inner-city Catholic school. And he wanted to see a Catholic Charities site and he particularly highlighted care for the immigrants,” the Cardinal explained.
The Pope will visit a third grade classroom at Our Lady Queen of Angels…
At the school Pope Francis will also meet in the gymnasium with recent immigrants, refugees and other poor and marginalized people who are cared for by Catholic Charities programs.
When asked what he hoped to show the Holy Father, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, responded, “the strangers who are welcomed by Catholic Charities.”
…A Papal Visit team chaired by Al Kelly, former president of American Express, who also served as president and chief executive officer of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee in 2014, is coordinating the sprawling itinerary. Organizers expect huge crowds.
…Kelly said two motorcades were being planned to allow as many people as possible to see the Pope.
…Cardinal Dolan said a lottery system would be used to distribute tickets, through the parishes mostly, to events such as the Mass at Madison Square Garden.
“Any of the tickets that we distribute through any sources will not have a charge associated with them,” he said. “They will all be free.”