Thursday, January 31, 2008

CUA Students Design Alter, Pulpit, Lecturn & Chair for Papal Mass

Two Catholic University graduate students won a competition to design the alter and chair for Pope Benedict XVI's papal mass in Washington (Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post January 29, 2008):

Twenty-one teams of students entered the university's competition to design the altar, pulpit, lectern and chair to be used in the Mass. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the service.

The design, by John-Paul Mikolajczyk, 23, of Staten Island, N.Y., and Ryan Mullen, 24, of Manchester, N.H., uses a pattern of overlapping arches that is repeated on all the pieces, including the altar's base. The students, master's degree candidates at Catholic University's School of Architecture and Planning, said they were inspired by time they spent at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is adjacent to the campus, according to the university's public affairs office.

The chair has a very tall back with the papal coat of arms. The front of the pulpit, from where the pope will read, features images from the Bible.

Photo credit: Tony Fiorini, CUA - "Ryan Mullen and John-Paul Mikolajczjk and their winning papal design." has a profile of Mikolajczyk:

"It's pretty big," Mikolajczyk said earlier today. "It hasn't really sunk in yet, and I kind of like that it hasn't because that lets me stay focused on the work."

The next step is "design development," as he and his partner, working with architecture faculty and representatives of the Archdiocese of Washington, take a critical look at comments from the contest jury before beginning the actual construction. [...]

Back home on Staten Island, his parents, Zdzislaw (Jim) and Loretta Mikolajczyk, didn't even know about the contest until their son called Monday night with news that he'd won.

"This is such an honor for him," Mrs. Mikolajczyk said. "This was his own accomplishment."

The graduate of St. Rita's School in Meiers Corners and a 2002 alumnus of Monsignor Farrell High School did his undergraduate work in philosophy at Catholic University. His mother said his decision to apply for the school's graduate program in architecture was a bit of a surprise but not that much of a stretch.

"He was always constructing things," she said. "He never spoke about it, it was just innate."

Mikolajczyk, a parishioner of St. Adalbert's R.C. Church in Elm Park, doesn't think his winning design will guarantee him an audience with the pope.

"It's not like we spearheaded the ecumenical movement," he said. "But it should be some help in getting tickets to the mass."

If he does meet Pope Benedict, he'll help solidify a family tradition: His mother met a Polish cardinal visiting her Brooklyn parish in the 1970s. That cardinal went on to become Pope John Paul II, in whose honor her son was named.

Thomas Peters (American Papist) toured the exhibit and has exclusive photographs of the chosen models for the pulpit, lecturn and chair for Benedict's public mass in Washington.

Papal Visit Media Advisory

Applications for media credentials to cover Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, April 15-20, are available online at; access is at Media Credentials. Application deadline is Feb. 21.
  • The pope will arrive in Washington on the afternoon of April 15. His visit to Washington will include, on April 16, a morning meeting with President George Bush at the White House and an evening meeting with the bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Thursday's itinerary includes Mass at the new Nationals Park, the first non-baseball event for the stadium, an address to the heads of all U.S. Catholic colleges and heads of diocesan education departments at The Catholic University of America, and an interreligious prayer service at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.
  • On Friday, April 18, the pope will go to New York, to address the United Nations and to attend an evening prayer service with Christian leaders at St. Joseph Church on E. 87th Street in the Yorkville section of Manhattan.
  • Saturday's program includes Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with priests, deacons and religious men and women from throughout the country, and a trip to St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, where the pope will meet with young people with disabilities and then preside over a rally and prayer service with seminarians and other young people.
  • Sunday morning, April 20, the pope will visit Ground Zero, before an afternoon Mass at Yankee Stadium. A full itinerary is available at
Most events are open to media, but space at many sites is limited. Pools will be established; not all credentialed media can be present at every site. All credentialed media will have access to live feed of events at media centers in Washington and New York, as well as a password-protected Web site to access all of the papal texts.

Credentialing for coverage of the White House event and the United Nations event must be made through the White House or UN. Credential applications for other events will only be accepted online at; click on media credentials.

CONTACT: Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, +1-202-541-3200

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- Jan. 29/
SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Archdiocese of Boston: 3,000 Available Tickets to NYC Papal Mass

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is making 3,000 tickets available for Boston-area Catholics who want to see Pope Benedict XVI on April 20 at Yankee Stadium in New York - the Boston Globe reports:

The Boston tickets can be requested online at Ticket requests must be made by 5 p.m. Feb. 11. The archdiocese is making tickets available only to registered parishioners who are over age 14, and is planning to hold a lottery if more than 3,000 people request seats, said Scot Landry, coordinator of the event. The archdiocese will offer bus transportation to and from New York the day of the Mass.

"Many Catholics have called asking if the archdiocese would have tickets, so we requested a number from the archdiocese of New York, and we were thrilled that they allocated such a large number for us," Landry said. "There's a natural affection for the Holy Father, and this is his first trip to the US, and I think people want to experience it firsthand."

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will be traveling separately to New York and will concelebrate the Mass at Yankee Stadium with the pope.

See Also: AmericanPapist: Not Your Average Catholic!: AmP Tip: How to get tickets to see Pope Benedict XVI in April American Papist

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Catholic News Service: "Details on tickets to papal Masses remain sketchy, as deadlines pass"

According to the Catholic News Service, Your chance of getting a ticket to Pope Benedict XVI's April 20 Mass at Yankee Stadium might depend on whether you live in a diocese close to the Archdiocese of New York or in one of the nation's oldest archdioceses. Nancy Frazier O'Brien explains the reason for the "privileged placement" of our nation's eldest dioceses, in an detailed report on the rush for papal mass tickets:

Catholics from three archdioceses that share with the Archdiocese of New York the distinction of marking their 200th anniversary this year will get special treatment at the Yankee Stadium Mass. The archdioceses of Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville, Ky., will be honored at the Mass, along with the nation's first diocese, the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Brian Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the Louisville Archdiocese, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville will concelebrate the Mass with Pope Benedict and the cardinal-archbishops of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

As for distribution within the New York Diocese:
The New York office extended the deadline for dioceses to submit ticket requests until Jan. 15 and said the heads of dioceses would receive information about their ticket allocation during the week of Jan. 21. Each bishop will distribute the tickets "at his discretion," the New York Archdiocese said.

For those living within the New York Archdiocese, tickets will be distributed in the parishes. "Pastors will receive detailed information regarding ticket allocations and distribution by the end of January," the papal visit office said.

The office also is distributing tickets for the pope's April 19 meeting with young people and seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York. Those will be allocated "through Catholic schools, parish catechetical programs, parish youth groups, seminaries, etc., in the Archdiocese of New York and other dioceses in the immediate New York metropolitan area."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Benedict to celebrate Ecumenical Service at St. Joseph's, Yorkville

Pope Benedict XVI will lead an ecumenical prayer service during his papal visit -- Catholic News Service has the details on the location:

Pope Benedict XVI will lead an ecumenical prayer service for national and local Christian leaders April 18 at St. Joseph's Church, a historic German parish in the Yorkville section of Manhattan. . . .

[NY Archdiocese communications directer] Joseph Zwilling said St. Joseph's was selected for the service because "it's a beautiful church" that had recently been renovated and because it was founded as a German national parish that includes stained-glass windows with inscriptions in German.

Msgr. Lawrence Connaughton, a former pastor of St. Joseph's who is a site coordinator for the event, said the 113-year-old Romanesque-revival-style church holds about 350 people.

St. Joseph's was established in 1873 to serve the large German immigrant population of Yorkville as well as German-speaking people throughout the metropolitan area who traveled there for services in their native language.

Diocese of Albany, NY Scrambles for Tickets

Citizens of Albany, NY scramble to get tickets to the NYC papal mass - Marc Parry of the Albany Times-Union reports:

As many as 3,000 requests have already arrived from people hoping for some of the roughly 450 tickets allotted to the Albany Diocese. Lucky pilgrims will be picked by random drawing.

The diocesan newspaper, The Evangelist, is handling the free tickets. The requests already fill four postal bins. They come from Albany and Altamont, from Gloversville and Gilboa -- even from an inmate at Coxsackie prison.

"Does he think he's going to get a furlough to go to New York?" wondered Mary Breig, circulation director for the newspaper. [...]

The amount of mail piling up has put to rest any question whether the public Mass would generate the same interest as ones celebrated by John Paul, who visited the United States five times during his pontificate.

"I think it's not just the individual, but the office," James Breig said. "People recognize this is the head of our church -- we have to go see him regardless of who it is. It is for most people a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Pope to take Center Field at Nationals Park, Washington

The Canadian Press reports on a change in the outdoor mass in Washington:

WASHINGTON - Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate mass from centre field at the Washington Nationals' new ballpark during his three-day visit to the city in mid-April, officials said.

With thousands of people already requesting tickets to the April 17 event, officials with the Archdiocese of Washington said they wanted as many people as possible to attend the mass. They considered placing the altar in the second base area but realized they could fit in an extra 4,000 seats by putting it in centre field - for a total of 45,000 seats.

The doors will open about 6:30 a.m. for pre-mass activities, including music and videos. The two-hour mass begins at 10 a.m.

Plans for distributing the free tickets have not been announced. Archdiocese officials want to make sure they do not get into the hands of scalpers or wind up on EBay, spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said.

According to the article, the Pope will be transported around in the infamous PopeMobile.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cardinal Bertone: "Pope to stay above political fray during U.S. visit"

Don't expect any political fireworks during Benedict's U.S. visit -- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Pope Benedict intends to stay above the political fray (Catholic News Service):

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana that "someone said there's always an electoral campaign under way in the United States" no matter what time of year it is.

"The pope is nonpartisan," the cardinal said in the magazine's Jan. 6 issue.

"One certainly cannot control eventual exploitation" by people who might use the pope's visit to gain political advantage, he added.