Today’s announcement of the Vatican’s official program for next month’s U.S. papal trip includes information on where you might be able to catch a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI in the popemobile if you don’t have tickets for a papal event:
— The first use of the popemobile on this trip will be when the pope leaves the White House at noon April 16 en route to the apostolic nunciature, a distance of about three miles. A major traffic nightmare is certainly a possibility since the White House is smack in the middle of downtown. The precise route was not announced.
– Later that same day, according to the schedule, he’ll arrive at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the popemobile for his meeting with the U.S. bishops. Again, no precise route was given.
– The next afternoon, after he meets with Catholic education officials at The Catholic University of America in Washington, he’ll use the popemobile to go to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center for his meeting with representatives of non-Christian religions. That trip will be fairly short, since the university and the JPII center are more or less across the street from one another.
– The lone New York popemobile trip will be on Saturday, April 19, after a noon lunch with Cardinal Edward Egan. That trip from the cardinal’s residence to the residence of the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations is about a mile.