Pope's Closing Mass in Philippines Expected to Draw 6M to 7M

Organizer: Population Has Grown Since John Paul II Drew 5M

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Organizers for the Pope’s trip to the Philippines next week are expecting 6 million to 7 million people at the closing Mass on Jan. 18.

So many people are expected to troop to Luneta (Rizal) Park during the Closing Mass of the apostolic visit of Pope Francis that it will break the record 5 million-crowd set during the 1995 Papal Mass of Pope John Paul II.

Fr. Rufino Sescon, Jr.,  executive secretary of the papal visit steering committee, said the capacity of the park is only around 1.2 million people, but that, “we expect an overflow that would reach Roxas Boulevard and both sides, up to `yung papunta sa US Embassy and also going to Anda circle.”

“In 1995, we had [five] million, so that would be a conservative estimate. Our population has grown since 1995,” Fr. Sescon said in an interview.

Some 2,250 priests from different parts of the archipelago and 250 local and foreign bishops will be concelebrating with the Holy Father during his last Mass in the country at 4 p.m. on January 18.

Organizers will be stationing 18 LED screens with speakers, 20 first-aid stations, and around 450 portable toilets around Luneta.

Barriers will be scattered all over the park for the safety of the Pope and the people who will attend.

“[The Philippine National Police and the Presidential Security Group] assured us that the Pope will be safe and people also will be safe for as long as we follow the regulations and the safety measures,” Fr. Sescon said.

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