Pope Francis’ scheduled appearance at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall later this month was the hottest ticket in town for all of 2 minutes Tuesday. The 10,000 tickets available for Francis’ Sept. 26 speech were claimed quickly after they became available for online reservation, WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, reported.
Demand for tickets, which were made available through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, caused the church organization’s website to experience 394,000 unique page views at one time. Tickets for the pope's speech at the World Meeting of Families Congress were free and being given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals were limited to requests for no more than four tickets.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had not released additional ticketing information for the Festival of Families and a mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway, the two other events there involving Francis. Those tickets were expected to become available Wednesday, WPVI-TV reported. An unspecified number of tickets for the pope’s visit to Philadelphia were being distributed to leaders in 219 parishes in the local diocese, along with surrounding parishes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Philadelphia officials had been trying to reassure local and regional residents papal events would be accessible virtually to anyone who wanted to participate. An "I'll Be There" advertising campaign was unveiled last week to encourage attendance after many had expressed fears about oppressive security restrictions. One million people were expected for Francis' Philadelphia mass, media reports said.
Francis’ time in the “City of Brotherly Love” will wrap up a historic visit to the U.S. The pope is scheduled to first visit Washington and address the U.S. Congress. He’s expected then to stop in New York City for two days of events, including a speech to the United Nations and a mass at Madison Square Garden. The pope is then slated to depart for Philadelphia after New York’s events.