Monday, April 14, 2008

U.S. Papal Visit carries a hefty cost . . .

The New York Times reports on the hefty costs of hosting the U.S. papal visit -- "at least 3 million" for the Archdiocese of Washington, "no estimate" as of yet for the New York portion:

The two archdioceses on the Pope’s schedule have taken different approaches to financing the visit. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington decided that parish and diocesan money should not be used for the visit, Ms. Gibbs [a spokeswoman for the Washington archdiocese] said, given the other financial pressures that the archdiocese faces. Instead, Archbishop Wuerl established the Christ Our Hope foundation, financed by wealthy donors, to underwrite the costs. Ms. Gibbs declined to identify the donors or the size of their contributions.

The foundation has raised more than $3 million so far; any surplus will be donated to a charity of the Pope’s choice, in his name, Ms. Gibbs said.

Security costs may eat up much of the foundation’s resources.

Carrie Brooks, a spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty of Washington, said that the Secret Service was taking the lead in coordinating the Pope’s security while he is in the capital. Ms. Brooks said city police will be most involved in coordinating street closures for processions. The total expected cost to the city is estimated at $2,190,955, to provide security, close streets and clean up after parades, she said.

Ms. Brooks said in an e-mail message that every year, the city tries to get back from the federal government what it spends on such efforts for visiting dignitaries, and that it has “also reached out to the archdiocese to discuss cost-sharing.”