Pope Francis greets crowds from the popemobile at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, 2015. Photo by Michael Swan

Papal Mass tickets pulled from resale site

  • July 13, 2022

Scalpers have pounced on the potential of Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, but at least one ticket reseller has just said no.

Free tickets to Masses at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium July 26 and the Ste. Anne de Beaupré shrine outside of Quebec City July 28 have been turning up on websites and apps dedicated to reselling event tickets. The Catholic Register found tickets to the Commonwealth Stadium Mass on Seat Geek offered for $69 to $71 (U.S.).

When alerted to this by The Catholic Register, Seat Geek staff immediately responded that their site does not allow reselling free tickets at any price and that listings for the papal Masses were being immediately taken down.

The Internet is vast, so there will be many other places where the tickets might be found for a price. Scalpers will often target free events with programmed bots able to automatically fill in the required information to apply for tickets as soon as they are offered. Infinitely quicker, bots are often successful in obtaining tickets over real humans and whatever price they get for them is pure profit.

As the papal visit organizers released their second batch of 16,000 tickets for the Commonwealth Stadium Mass, they warned those seeking an opportunity to celebrate Mass with the Pope against buying resale tickets.

“It is sad and troubling that anyone would try to resell free tickets for an event with Pope Francis,” the organizers said in a release.

The official channel for a chance at the free tickets is through Ticketmaster at https://www.ticketmaster.ca/messe-visite-papale-acces-exterieurpapal-visit-sainteannedebeaupre-quebec-07-28-2022/event/31005CDEF7E44FD2 to attend Mass outside the Ste. Anne de Beaupre Shrine, and at https://www.ticketmaster.ca/papal-visit-papal-mass-messe-visite-edmonton-alberta-07-26-2022/event/11005CDBCE1F409A for Mass inside Commonwealth Stadium.

There’s only room for 2,000 general public seats to worship outside the Quebec shrine with giant screens carrying video of the Mass inside. A further 7,000 outdoor tickets are reserved for national and local Indigenous associations. There are 1,400 places inside the Basilica of Ste. Anne. Seventy per cent of the indoor seats are reserved for Indigenous people. The remaining 30 per cent have been distributed to dioceses throughout eastern Canada, many of them bringing delegations of Indigenous faithful.

Broader participation in the Quebec events will be possible on the Plains of Abraham on July 27 and 28. Register at www.papalvisit.ca/plains.

Up to 60,000 can squeeze into Commonwealth Stadium. Two blocks of 16,000 tickets have been released so far. The final block of tickets will be released on July 18. Keep tabs at www.papalvisit.ca/schedule/holy-mass-at-commonwealth-stadium/.

The raw, unregulated capitalism of ticket scalpers is nothing new to papal visits. Pope Francis’ visits to Philadelphia and New York in 2015  were a bonanza for scalpers with one operator asking $100,000 for the chance to see the Pope pass by in procession through Central Park. When Pope Francis was in Mexico in 2016, scalpers were there. Scalpers followed Pope John Paul II in his many travels.

Mass, vespers, novenas and other forms of prayer will be available free of charge at parishes across the country throughout the Pope’s visit.

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