.- The mayor of the Mexican city of Leon has announced that the city will not charge people for special seating along the papal motorcade route when Pope Benedict XVI visits the country in March.
After Mayor Ricardo Sheffeld initially said that the city of Leon planned to charge people to sit in the large grandstands that would line the city streets during the papal motorcade, Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago stepped in, calling it a bad idea.
“It would be better not to set up grandstands so that the people who line the streets to see the Pope pass by can do so without having to pay. That was the idea and I think that is what we all wanted, and I think it should be respected,” Archbishop Martin Rabago said Jan. 28.
The apostolic nuncio to Mexico, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, called it “absurd to try to profit from people coming together to see the Holy Father as he motorcades through Leon.”
The mayor issued a press release on Jan. 30 reversing the city’s plans and announcing that there would be no charge to see the Pope.
Archbishop Martin Rabago said workers are preparing for the 750,000 people expected to attend the Pope’s outdoor Mass on March 25. “The number of tickets that will be distributed has almost been determined, but there are still some adjustments to be made.”
“The platforms for the Mass are still being built, and the engineers and architects still have to make exact measurements in order to determine how many tickets we can provide,” the archbishop explained.