Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pope Benedict to address Youth in Yonkers

Gary Stern (Lower Hudson Online) has the scoop on Pope Benedict's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY:

Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers will revolve around a meeting with disabled youths inside the seminary chapel and then a papal address to nearly 20,000 young people from across the region who will assemble on the seminary grounds.

The April 19 visit will take place in the late afternoon, and the pope should be in Yonkers for about 90 minutes. . . .

It will be on the afternoon of April 19 that nearly 20,000 youths from parishes across the archdiocese and neighboring dioceses will be bused to parking areas on the grounds of the Yonkers seminary. The gathering will probably look much the same as when Pope John Paul II visited St. Joseph's on Oct. 6, 1995.

"I think we have a well-rehearsed plan," said Mark G. Ackermann, executive director of the archdiocese's office of the papal visit. "The grounds will be tightly controlled, but it's a good plan."

When Benedict arrives - John Paul came to Yonkers by helicopter, but such details will be confidential until the event - he will first meet with about 50 disabled young people in the seminary chapel.

"He will want to let them know that they are as welcome as anyone, as important to him as anyone else in God's family," said Bishop Gerald Walsh, the seminary's rector.

The youths who will be invited are still being identified by archdiocesan officials. . . .

At Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, as at other Catholic schools across New York, everyone is itching to get tickets.

"We are very excited as a school, certainly," said Alexander Malecki, JFK's director of alumni and public relations. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people. For our youngsters, it's something they've never experienced, the pageantry of it. We are looking forward to putting together a contingency to go down. It will be something to see."