Responding to reports that people are being asked to pay a donation for free tickets to the papal Mass during Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland, organizers have said that the fee is intended to recoup expenses for an entire parish group, not for individuals. One bishop suggested parishes have creative fundraisers to defray costs.
Parishioners have been told there is an expected donation of £20, about $31, to cover transportation costs and a pilgrim pack for the Sept. 16 Mass at Bellahouston Park. The Herald reports the pack contains a CD, an information booklet, and a pass required for attendees.
“Scottish pilgrims travelling to the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park will not be expected to pay a charge to attend,” a church spokesman said, according to The Herald. “Instead, parishes will be asked to contribute to the overall cost of the event. We hope that spreading the costs in this way will ensure that all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means.”
In a July 26 letter to all priests of the Diocese of Paisley, Bishop Philip Tartaglia urged parishes to use innovative means to raise funds to cover the event costs. Costs should be spread in a way that will ensure that “all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means.”
The papal Mass would be “a once-in-a-generation Mass with the Holy Father on Scottish soil,” the bishop added, noting that the cost would exceed £1 million, about $1.5 million. He attributed these costs to “the nature of the event itself” with 100,000 people “coming together in one place to meet with the Successor of Peter.”
“A principle of the organization was that costs should be shared evenly throughout Scotland to make it feasible for people to come from all parts,” Bishop Tartaglia commented.
He told priests it is fair to regard parishioners who attend the Mass as in some way representatives of their parish.
“I accept that you may not be able to meet the cost of your allocation from your ordinary parish budget. I therefore encourage you – and so many of you are so good at this – to organize a fundraising event or events to meet the cost of your allocation.
“I believe your parishioners would readily see the appropriateness of this so that the people from the parish can go to Mass with the Holy Father.”