MANILA – Following the growing number of inquiries on whether or not tickets for the papal visit are already available, the University of Santo Tomas recently announced it will not be selling tickets for the visit of Pope Francis to the royal and pontifical university.
In a statement released to the press, UST public affairs office head Giovanna Fontanilla yesterday said that those interested to see the Pope should come to the school and no tickets will be required.
“They should just come to the UST. It is one rare opportunity to see the Holy Father,” Fontanilla said.
She also shared how university officials are now preparing for the security of the devotees inside and around the campus during the visit.
“We have aligned security measures to make sure that the pope is safe, the public, the students as well as the Thomasian community. We have also adopted security measures like scanners that when you enter the university you would be free from any foreign thing,” UST university event coordinator Monalisa Perez said.
“We have also coordinated with the different security agencies, the Vatican security, Presidential Security Group and different sectors of the country in charge of the security of the pope,” she added.
The university is already expecting a total of 24,000 youth delegates to the Meeting.
To accommodate all of them the UST football field and the grandstand will be utilized. As of writing, the said areas are now reserved for the delegates belonging to the Archdiocesan Commission on the Youth, Episcopal Commission on the Youth, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines and participants from the Second Philippine Conference of New Evangelization.
Meanwhile, Perez also advised that bringing of umbrellas will be prohibited inside the campus to facilitate a better viewing of the pope.
Aside from umbrellas, the university will also discourage the use of cameras adding that not everyone will be allowed to bring video cameras.
Despite the influx of people interested to see the pope, the officials are still looking forward to a systematic and peaceful facilitation of the Pope’s visit.
“We are already beginning to feel the tension. But we would like to believe that God’s grace, mercy and compassion would be above all of us,” Perez said.
A pre-program will include the praying the rosary, practicing songs and cheers for the pope and sharing of faith – would start at 6:30 a.m. to prepare the youth for their encounter with the pope, according to Fontanilla.
They are expecting the pope to arrive at 10:30 a.m. along with the enthronement of the cross. This will then be followed by a liturgy which will include Bible readings, responsorial psalm and the gospel.