Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Many Methods of Ticket Distribution

I seldom have too many complaints about my diocese. In general, I think it is one of the better dioceses in the country. We have an orthodox bishop as well as faithful clergy, religious, and laity.

In fact, I don't think I have even posted a complaint about my diocese on this blog. Well, here is my first.

In my coverage of the Papal Events I have noticed that dioceses have instituted many methods of ticket distribution. Some set up webpages where people could enter their request on the first come basis, other dioceses set up drawings to choose the Mass attendees. Still other diocese instituted large scale plans where each pastor was allowed to submit 5 names to the diocese and the diocese would then hold a drawing, or held essay contests to determine the winners.

Not so, in my diocese or in the neighboring diocese (where 200 tickets went to diocesan employees and Catholic school students). My diocese received 100 tickets, but no one was informed. Nothing on the diocesan website or in the diocesan newspaper. There were no bulletin announcements. In fact, pastors were not even notified.

Last week an announcement was placed on the front page of the diocesan newspaper about the pilgrimage group which is traveling to New York. Further in the article it states that tickets were granted on a first come, first served basis. I know that is true because I got a ticket; however, I only knew to contact the diocese because I am a Catholic Geek. I saw that every other diocese seems to be getting tickets, so I called the bishop's office and asked if we were getting any.

Those who are not Catholic Geeks didn't have a chance, or did they? Also in the article it states that 58 people are coming from one parish. More than half of the tickets were granted to parishioners from a single parish? But, no pastors were informed that the diocese was getting tickets!

The pastor of this parish is not your average priest. He is a very good, very orthodox priest, who is well known in Catholic Geek circles. He is also involved in the Catholic media. Aha! He got a heads up, or like me, knew enough to make a call. So, he must have told his parishioners. Nothing wrong with that. I am happy for them, I just wish the same opportunity had been granted to the rest of the diocese.

I have seen the hits on this blog more than quadruple since the papal visit was announced and the numbers keep rising the closer we get. Most people have been, and still are looking for imformation on how to get tickets to one of the events. There are many people in my diocese, including a deacon, who until this week didn't even know the Pope was coming to the U.S.

Of course, Catholic Geeks like me, and probably you, scratch our heads and say "what do you mean you didn't know he was coming?", but not everyone lives in our little world of Catholicity. So, to the officials of my diocese and every diocese in the world: as much as I want to see the Pope, and I am grateful for the opportunity to get a ticket, it shouldn't be a closed circle of insiders. Think about what an opportunity to see and hear the Holy Father in person could do for the faith of a nominal Catholic, or Joe Pewsitter. Yes, I know that advertising the events would have greatly diminished my chances of getting a ticket, but that is beside the point. The Pope is coming and people want to see him! Lots of people want to see him, but they can't get tickets if they don't know they exist.

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