Up to 10,000 to be allowed in Freedom Square for Pope Francis

Pope Francis.
Pope Francis. Source: SIPA/Scanpix

From 7,000 to 10,000 people with prior registration will be allowed to enter Freedom Square in Tallinn's city centre for the mass to be celebrated there by Pope Francis in the afternoon of 25 September.

Registration is open until 15 September, and "there is no danger at this point that there won't be enough room for everyone eager to attend," Marge-Marie Paas, spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church in Estonia, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Father Wodzislaw Szczepanik, in charge of the preparation of the mass, said that for the first part of the mass, scripture will be read and the pope will speak. In the second part, Catholics present will receive communion.

Szczepanik explained that to everyone arriving for the mass, booklets will be handed out offering an explanation of the various aspects of mass as well as instructions on how to behave. The same will be made available online at the time of the visit to enable smartphone users to read it on their device.

At present, negotiations with the Tallinn city government are underway to get permission to install large viewscreens near Freedom Square, on which an audience off the square could follow the mass as well.

"Attendance will depend to no small degree on what the weather will be like," Paas said.

She stressed that holy mass is not a concert or a show, and that the pope, who will be celebrating it, is a spiritual leader above all else.

Plans are for Francis to make a round of Freedom Square in his popemobile before the mass, to start at 16.30 EEST.

Francis' visit to Tallinn is part of the pope's tour of the Baltic countries. He will meet with President Kersti Kaljulaid, members of the Estonian government, civil society representatives and members of the diplomatic corps at Kadriorg. He will also meet with young Christians in Kaarli Church, and with recipients of support by the church in Tallinn's St. Peter and St. Paul cathedral.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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