.- Pope Benedict XVI’s itinerary for his first papal visit to the United States has been released and includes a wide range of events. The Holy Father will visit with the President, meet with 350 bishops from around the U.S. and address Catholic educators among other commitments.
The Pope will arrive in Washington on Tuesday, April 15. Upon arrival he will meet with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, and the next day he will visit the White House.
On April 16, Pope Benedict will also hold a prayer service and meeting with the 350 bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Thursday morning, the Pope will celebrate Mass at the Nationals Park in Washington, the first non-baseball event in the park. Later that day, he will visit Catholic University of America to deliver an address both to the heads of more than 200 Catholic colleges and universities and to school superintendents from 195 Catholic dioceses.
After the address to educators, the Pope will meet with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and representatives of other religions for a prayer service at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center near Catholic University.
Pope Benedict will leave for New York City on the morning of April 18. He will address the United Nations at 10:45 a.m. and at 6 p.m. he will hold a prayer service at St. Joseph’s Church in Manhattan.
The next day, the Pope will hold a 9:15 a.m. Mass for priests and deacons at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He will meet with Catholic youth, including 50 disabled children, at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.
On the morning of April 20 the Pope will visit ground zero, the site of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings. Following the Ground Zero stop, he will celebrate a Mass with 60,000 people in Yankee Stadium at 2:30, and will leave New York for Rome at 8 pm.
The Archdiocese of Boston is making available 3,000 tickets for Boston-area Catholics who want to attend the papal Mass at Yankee Stadium in New York on April 20, according to the Boston Globe.
The Boston tickets can be requested online at boston200.org and are available only to registered parishioners over the age of 14. If more than 3,000 people request tickets, they will be chosen by lottery.
"Many Catholics have called asking if the archdiocese would have tickets, so we requested a number from the Archdiocese of New York, and we were thrilled that they allocated such a large number for us," said Scot Landry, coordinator of the event. "There's a natural affection for the Holy Father, and this is his first trip to the US, and I think people want to experience it firsthand."
At the New York Mass, the Pope will recognize the bicentennial of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the creation of the dioceses of Boston, New York, Louisville, and Philadelphia.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a website for the papal visit, located at www.uspapalvisit.org