Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pope Benedict Visits Sicily

Tomorrow (Sunday, October 3rd) Pope Benedict will be in Palermo for a day to celebrate an open-air mass in the morning and then meet with the archbishop and seminarians for lunch. Later he'll attend an event in Piazza Politeama to meet with young people.

We can expect most of the commercial and historical districts of the city to be closed to traffic. Over 200,000 people are expected at the mass on the seaside lawns along the Foro Italico.

As you can imagine, getting around town by car will be virtually impossible, and it won't be easy even on foot. Palermitan crowds are usually undisciplined, to say the least, and consider littering public areas a birthright. I don't envy the Monday-morning cleaning crews!

It's been 17 years ago since the last Papal visit, always a big event. While some people will certainly appreciate Benedict's message (and his Italian is far better than his English), for most it's the pure spectacle that is appealing. They won't be disappointed.

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