The World Meeting of Families 2018 has today announced that all 500,000 tickets for its Closing Mass in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, on Sunday 26 August, are now booked out. Pope Francis will visit the 9th World Meeting of Families which will take place in Dublin from 21–26 August.
Tickets went live for booking on Monday 25 June. Within the first 24 hours 285,000 tickets were booked. Just 24 hours later the bookings had risen to 400,000. Strong demand for tickets since then has seen several thousand bookings per day with the last of the tickets being booked today, just short of two weeks since their release date.
More than 115 countries are represented in bookings for the Mass in Phoenix Park, with oversees visitors for the Mass at more than 15,000. Forty-six per cent of those booked to attend are from the Dublin region, with the remaining bookings spread evenly across Ireland. More than half of all registered to attend the WMOF 2018 in the RDS are parents with children under 18 years of age, which is expected to be similar to figures for the Closing Mass.
Commenting on tickets being booked out so far in advance of the Mass with Pope Francis, Father Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General of the WMOF 2018 said those involved in organising the World Meeting of Families are not surprised at the very high levels of interest.
He said, ‘While I was cautious at the beginning, and while I am a little surprised every part of the event is booked out six weeks in advance, including the Mass for half-a-million people in Phoenix Park, I am not surprised at all by the incredibly high levels of interest. Family is important to all of us. People like what Pope Francis is saying about family and the Church.’
Father Bartlett made a particular appeal for those coming to the Mass in Phoenix Park to plan their journey well in advance: ‘We are working with the Gardai and other authorities to make the WMOF 2018 a joyful, welcoming and comfortable event. But it is vital everybody thinks through how they will get to and from the Mass, what they will bring with them in terms of seating, clothing and food. There will be lots of facilities in the Park, including water, food outlets and toilets. There will also be lots of music, singing and other activities before and after Pope Francis is there. However, families and individuals should try to come with groups where they can. They should try to use coaches and public transport to reduce the impact on the environment and pressure on the roads. Parish groups and others need to come together and figure out how they can help those who are on their own or who need extra help physically getting to the site of the Mass. Now is the time to start planning. Now is the time to come together as the family of families to help one another prepare for and enjoy this incredible, historic event, which Pope Francis will celebrate with us.’
Father Bartlett concluded, ‘The limits on attendance were set by those statutory agencies with responsibility for health and safety, which is paramount for us all. While I know many will be disappointed they have not managed to get tickets for Knock Shrine or the Phoenix Park, we will be broadcasting these events live for those who were unable to secure a ticket. Many parishes and dioceses are also arranging gatherings so as people who are unable to attend in person can feel part of the Mass and the other events with Pope Francis.’
The WMOF 2018 ask people to check parish and diocesan websites for updates and information between now and the events in August. They are also asking people to regularly check the public service information being provided by the statutory agencies involved on www.gov.ie/popeinireland.
The full schedule for the World Meeting of Families and the itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit, as well as information regarding transport and for those with accessibility requirements, can be found on www.worldmeeting2018.ie.