Pope’s Mass at Manila Cathedral by invitation only

Pope’s Mass at Manila Cathedral by invitation only

MANILA, Philippines - Here is one lottery any priest and member of the religious would definitely want to win.

Citing the cramped space at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, organizers of the papal visit have decided to make the papal Mass at the 2,000-seat capacity church a "by invitation only" event, limiting the number of guests to only 10 priests and five religious sisters per diocese.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said the papal visit steering committee had asked every diocese to send only 10 priests and five religious sisters for the Holy Mass, where Pope Francis will deliver a homily.

The papal Mass with the bishops, priests and religious women and men will be held on Jan. 16, the second day of Francis' visit.

To be fair in picking out who would attend the Holy Mass, Ledesma said priests were chosen by lottery in their archdioceses.

"We were able to choose by lottery and section by the vicariates. Among the sisters, I think they just have to choose among themselves who will attend," Ledesma told reporters.

As for lay members who want to get a glimpse of the Pope or attend a papal event, Ledesma said they could attend the public Mass scheduled on Jan. 18 at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila.

"They will also have the chance since the Holy Father will also have a general Mass … It is an outdoor Mass (so) there will be more accommodation for everyone," said the senior prelate.

Earlier, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle already explained that only a few delegates would be accommodated in some of the events during the papal visit due to limited space in some venues.

"The public Masses are open to the public, like the one in Tacloban and Luneta," Tagle said.

"But in some of the events, like the Encounter with Families, because of the constraints of the venue, representatives from different sectors or provinces will be accommodated, but only a certain number of delegates," he said on Friday.

The Pope is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Jan. 15 from Sri Lanka. He will fly to Tacloban on Jan. 17 to meet with the survivors of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan).

He will return to Rome on Jan. 19.

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