Milan gears up for papal visit

The Vatican is expecting a million worshippers to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s mass during the three-day family meeting in Milan 30 May-3 June.

Announcing the satisfactory progress of preparations yesterday, Monsignor Erminio De Scalzi told reporters that the organisers are also planning to welcome 300,000 participants to the Festa delle testimonianze and 50,000 to the Fiera Internazionale della Famiglia.

Work has begun on the huge platform – the size of a church, he said – on Bresso airfield on the city’s northern border, where the Pope will celebrate the closing mass on the morning of 3 June.  Five metro stations will serve the 11 entrances to the area, and there will also be 9 parking areas for bicycles and parking slots for 4,200 shuttle buses at the metro stations.

Organisers recommend leaving cars at home and using public transport to reach the location of the events, in particular the papal mass, which will be surrounded by a large ZTL (limited traffic zone).

Mons. De Scalzi praised the hospitality of the warm-hearted families of Milan, over ten thousand of whom are opening their homes to accommodate visitors to the seventh international family meeting.

Meanwhile, Milan’s Cardinal Scola has decreed that mass will not be celebrated in local churches on the morning of Sunday 3 June but only on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, so that the faithful will be encouraged to attend the papal service.

More details are available of the event’s website.

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