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1st set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes

Click to play video: 'Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes' Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes
WATCH ABOVE: In less than half an hour, Edmontonians snapped up the first round of 16,000 tickets to see Pope Francis hold mass at Commonwealth Stadium. Excitement is growing ahead of his Canadian trip later this month. As Sarah Komadina explains, the overall tone of this visit is unique – Jul 6, 2022

Thousands of tickets for the Pope’s open-air mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium were all booked about 15 minutes after they were made available to the public for free.

The July 26 mass with Pope Francis is part of his six-day Canadian tour, which also includes stops in Quebec City and Iqaluit.

Read more: Pope Francis to visit former Alberta residential school during Canada trip: Vatican

Neil McCarthy, a spokesperson for the papal visit, says organizers were hopeful the first block of 16,000 tickets would be booked immediately because the impact of the event cannot be underestimated.

A total of 65,000 people can attend the mass at the football stadium.

Click to play video: 'Pope to visit Maskwacis First Nations community in central Alberta' Pope to visit Maskwacis First Nations community in central Alberta
Pope to visit Maskwacis First Nations community in central Alberta – Jun 27, 2022

McCarthy says if people haven’t been able to book a seat, they can do so on two other days later this month, when the remaining blocks of free tickets will be made available.

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Read more: Edmonton church prepares for Pope visit, grand reopening after 2020 fire

Organizers divided the booking process for the mass over three days, because they say it is easier to manage and want to prioritize some Indigenous people who want to attend.

“We’ve got seating allocations for Indigenous participation, whether it’s residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers or those who are supporting them,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

“Today was a very, very positive start to the day. People really want to be with him.”

The Pope is to arrive in Edmonton on July 24. The next day, he is to meet survivors and visit the site of the former Ermineskin Residential School in Maskwacis, about 80 km south of Edmonton.

Read more: Treaty 6, Métis Nation of Alberta welcome Pope Francis’ visit as part of reconciliation

He is scheduled to arrive in Quebec City on July 27 and stop in Iqaluit on July 29.

The Pope’s visit comes after he apologized in April to Indigenous delegates at the Vatican for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential schools and the intergenerational trauma it caused.

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