Lottery For Tickets To Central Park Procession Opens Thursday To NY Residents Only


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With three weeks to go until Pope Francis visits New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Wednesday unveiled a chair made for the pope that will be used for his Mass at Madison Square Garden.

The handmade birch wood chair was built in a Port Chester garage by immigrant day laborers.

“He wanted something very simple. He wanted something wooden. He didn’t want any designs. So we’re very grateful to the workers who are very proud of what that represents,” Dolan said. “A chair represents unity, and a chair represents teaching authority.”

The pontiff will enter the Garden in a golf cart-type vehicle, ride around the arena and eventually head to the altar, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

Garden officials told CBS2’s Lou Young they expect that could be a time when magic moments happen — like during Pope John Paul II’s entrance into the Garden in 1979 when he literally rescued a child in distress.

“He found a lost child, lifted her up and her parents found her. An iconic moment. Right here on the floor, right here,” MSG Vice President Joel Fisher told Young.

Dolan said the pope told him he wants “to pray with my people, and I want to see as many of my people as possible.”

Confessions will be heard before the Mass, which will have a choir of 25 singers and a 40-piece orchestra, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

PHOTOS: New York City Prepares For Papal Visit

Fisher called it an honor to welcome the pope.

“Having the Holy Father lead 20,000 parishioners in a special Mass will go down as one of the top moments in Madison Square Garden’s history,” he said.

Francis will wear green during the Mass, and speak English, Spanish and Latin from the altar as he prays and preaches, Young reported. Five other languages will also be used during the ceremony to reflect the ethnic diversity of the city. The theme of the Mass will be peace and justice, reflecting Pope Francis’ emphasis on the dispossessed and the marginalized of our society.

The visit appears to be causing some anxiety among security officials, Dolan said.

“They’re so good, and they’re pros, and they’re used to everything, but obviously their major preoccupation and, sure glad it is, is to protect him, and I think they’re a little nervous,” Dolan said. “They’ve got a guy who has immense trust in divine providence … and we have a guy who does not want to be kept from the people. So it is a challenge for them, but they’re used to it.”

The pope will be in New York from Sept. 24-26. For a complete schedule of the pope’s upcoming visit, click here.

He will hold Mass at Madison Square Garden on the second day of his trip, following a procession through Central Park along the West Drive, where he will greet thousands of New Yorkers.

The route will head across the 72nd Street roadway and proceed south along the West Drive.

To get a ticket, you will need to click here or call 311 from Thursday to Monday. The tickets will be awarded in a lottery.

Only New York state residents may apply for tickets.

The winners will be notified Sept. 10.

“The pope’s visit to New York is designed to give as many New Yorkers access as possible,” said mayoral spokeswoman Monica Klein.

During his visit, the pope will also address the United Nations General Assembly, attend a service at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and visit Our Lady Queen of Angels school in East Harlem.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, multilayered security will be on hand for both the pope’s visit and the UN General Assembly, on what NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism John Miller called “a level that we’ve never seen before.”

“If something happens, we have to manage that crisis and then manage the movement of His Holiness, those crowds and world leaders around it,” Miller said.

He said there could be 5,000 police officers on the detail at any given time.