Local coverage of papal visit Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Cathy Lins, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Sep. 17, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Cathy Lins Marie Lins

Editor’s note: Cathy Lins and Marie Lins will be providing coverage of the visit of Pope Francis for the Catholic Herald (print paper, website (, Facebook, and Twitter), in addition to coverage provided by Catholic News Service.

Pope Francis is coming to the eastern United States. Since we heard the news and got the go ahead to do the media coverage, my sister Marie and I have been making plans and arrangements for the trip.

We have been to Rome for beatification Masses, and World Youth Day activities – so the crowds didn’t scare us. But, admittedly, making plans to get around Philadelphia has thrown us a few unexpected curves.

Traveling to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., or New York for the Holy Father’s visit to the United States September 22 to 27? Let us know. Cathy and Marie Lins will be providing coverage for the events in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia and connecting with people from the Diocese of Madison during Pope Francis’ stops. To let us know about your trip plans, contact Cathy Lins at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Marie Lins at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Facing challenges
To follow Cathy Lins and Marie Lins on their coverage of Pope Francis' U.S. trip and the World Meeting of Families, click here.

Housing plans changed a couple of times as expectations for huge crowds grew and what was once available for space suddenly wasn’t.

Tickets for the SEPTA metro trains went into a lottery system after initial attempts to sell tickets for the event dates crashed the local website.

We had to register within a 24-hour period and pray for we would get SEPTA tickets so we could get around the city.

Applications for media credentials and event tickets through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with the over 7,000 other reporters applying for spots, yielded us media credentials but no event tickets for any of the Pope’s scheduled events. My applications for media credentials and tickets from the White House and Congress are still under review.

Thanks to the generosity of a local Philadelphia priest, we found a place to stay with his parish members, got the scoop on which metro stations to try for in the ticket lottery (which we got), and now have tickets for the Festival of Families and the Papal Mass for the World Meeting of Families.

Preparing for Washington, D.C., has been admittedly easier. I am still working on getting tickets to the Holy Father’s scheduled visits.

Marie and I hope to be in contact with other members of the diocese who will be traveling out for Pope Francis’ visit and report on their experiences. We would appreciate if you could let us know if you are attending the scheduled events or other special events during this week.

Washington, D.C., visit

I will be in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Sept. 22, through Thursday, Sept. 24, following the pope’s visit to the White House and the Joint Session of Congress. The only public event in this leg of his trip is a short motorcade ride from the Ellipse to a portion of the National Mall. Over 200,000 people are expected.

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has been putting together trainings and materials for evangelization in anticipation of the pope’s visit. Various reports are indicating an uptick in interest in the Catholic faith from former Catholics and non-Christians. Pope Francis has helped establish trust and is piquing the curiosity of the public.

Local parishes in the Diocese of Madison, such St. Thomas Aquinas in Madison, report that they will be holding special gatherings in their parishes to watch the coverage on Thursday, Sept. 24, of the Holy Father’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress.

World Meeting of Families

Marie will be following the activities at the World Meeting of Families. She said, “I am really looking forward to attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which begins on Tuesday afternoon with an opening ceremony followed by the first keynote by Bishop Robert Barron and daily Mass.

We did one of Bishop Barron’s Bible studies at my parishes at Mt. Horeb and Pine Bluff this spring and I am very excited to see him speak. He has a gift for sharing the Catholic faith helping others to think of how they can live it. I think his presentation “Living as the Image of God: Created for Joy and Love” will be a great start to the meeting.”

There will be a total of five keynote sessions throughout the week, each followed by 14 breakout sessions. Other keynote presenters include: Cardinal Robert Sarah, Professor Helen Alvare, Dr. Juan Francisco de la Guardia Brin and Mrs. Gabriela N. de la Guardia, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley OFMCap. with Pastor Richard “Rick” Warren. Each will be sharing their thoughts on issues related to the family. The meeting will conclude on Friday afternoon.

“It will be great to hear from the many new speakers that I am not yet familiar with but also a lot of those who are familiar to me such as Damon Owens and Christopher West, who have been sharing St. John Paul II’s teachings on Theology of the Body for many years,” Marie Lins said. “I can’t wait to hear all of the ideas and bring back resources to share with others.”

Philadelphia visit

Marie and I will both be covering the Holy Father’s visit to Philadelphia Saturday and Sunday.

The body of St. Maria Goretti will be in Philadelphia during this week. It will be traveling around the U.S. prior to the Year of Mercy. The body will be in Madison at St. Maria Goretti Parish on October 16.

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