RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – Three Hampton Roads residents won two tickets each to see Pope Francis at a Catholic Mass in Washington, D.C. next week.
Thousands of people are expected to pack the University Mall at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at The Catholic University of America for the Mass and canonization ceremony Wednesday. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which includes Hampton Roads, has about 235,000 Catholics, according to Michael School, Executive Director of the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. The diocese used an online lottery to give away some of the 50 tickets to the Mass.
“We got over 4,000 entries and last week, which was last Thursday, we actually did the drawing on that day…We took all 4,000 names. We actually printed them off on pieces of paper and put them into a basket,” School said.
Three of the winners are from the Hampton Roads area: one from Yorktown and two from Virginia Beach, School said. They will get to bring one guest with them to the Papal Mass.
“When we opened up the lottery process, within 30 minutes, we had 1,500 entries, so there’s just a lot of excitement about the pope. My hope in all of this, of course, is that it’s not a one time shot in the arm, that the Pope being here and his presence here will hopefully bring a great message of hope and peace for the people,” he said.