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 CNS Story:

How to get tickets
to papal audiences and Masses

The pope blesses an elderly woman during a general audience. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
By Catholic News Service

To attend a papal Mass or the Wednesday general audience, visitors need to have tickets, which are free. Visitors should remember that there is a strictly enforced dress code for entering St. Peter’s Basilica -- shoulders must be covered, shorts are not allowed and skirts should reach the knees.

There are two main sources of tickets:

1) The U.S. bishops’ conference and the North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, run an efficient and friendly service for securing tickets to papal events. Tips are also offered on how to turn a visit into a pilgrimage.

The tickets should be requested at least 10 days in advance of the Wednesday general audience or the Mass the visitor would like to attend.

Letters accompanied by a bishop’s or priest’s recommendation often result in a ticket for a seating section closer to the pope but -- whatever type of ticket the visitor ends up with -- the best guarantee for a good position is to arrive early and get a seat near one of the aisles where the pope may pass.

Ticket requests may be sent by e-mail -- nacvisoffrome@pnac.org-- to the Bishops’ Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican. They also may be faxed to (39-06) 679-1448. The office telephone number is: (39-06) 690-011.

The office is located near the Trevi Fountain on Via dell’Umilta 30. Tickets for the Wednesday audiences are distributed at the office Tuesday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The office will advise visitors about the pickup date for tickets to papal Masses.

2) Visitors also can write directly to the Vatican for tickets. Letters should be addressed to: Archbishop James Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Vatican City 00120, Europe. The requests also may be faxed to the archbishop’s office: (39-06) 6988-5863.

After the request is made, the tickets can be picked up the afternoon before the audience between 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. or on the morning of the audience from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bronze Doors under the colonnade in St. Peter’s Square.

Copyright © 2008 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
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