Tens of thousands eagerly await Pope Benedict's visit to DC

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's capital is gearing up for its first visit by a pope since 1979.

Pope Benedict is making a pilgrimage to America in April and will celebrate a Mass April 17th at Washington's brand new Big League ballpark.

The Archdiocese of Washington is distributing 46,000 tickets for the event. Fourteen-thousand are being set aside for Catholic Dioceses around the country. DC church officials today will be announcing ticket allocations for each of Washington's 140 parishes. Factors will include how many people regularly show up for Mass.

Each parish is deciding who gets to attend. Churches have been collecting names and many will use lotteries to distribute the prized tickets. The pastor of a church in Annandale, Virginia, says it's a question of finding out who wants to go, and then "letting the Lord decide."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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