The Faithful Make an Early Pilgrimage to Philadelphia
The faithful began lining up early along Philadelphia's Ben Franklin Parkway as they wait for for Pope Francis' Mass, which is set to begin late Sunday afternoon.
More than one million people are expected to hear the pontiff's words starting at 4 p.m. The mass will also be broadcast on 40 large Jumbrotron screens around the immediate area where the service is taking place. Some of the faithful who were up late for Saturday night's concert and fireworks were among those who decided to wake up early to get a good spot for the mass. Early morning video showed people on the sidewalk in sleeping bags and small tents.
New Jersey 101.5's Dino Flammia, one of 1,000 on board several buses chartered by the Diocese of Metuchen from Piscataway says one can "easily feel the excitement" as they anticipate seeing what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
NJ Transit, PATCO and SEPTA reported lighter-than-expected volume on Saturday but expect more travelers today to utilize their special services today.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder says there are "no issues to report" from Saturday night and the schedule will remain the same for today. Papal Passes are still available for purchase until 1:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon for the Atlantic City Line and the RailLINE for express travel to Philadelphia and at the Trenton Transit Center, Florence and Pennsauken Transit Center Stations for the RiverLINE.
PATCO is running trains every 16 minutes into Philadelphia from Lindenwold, Woodcrest, Ferry Avenue and Broadway to 9/10 and Locust until 4:15 p.m. Service will be suspended between 4:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastbound-only service resumes at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 3:40 a.m.
The Ben Franklin Bridge remains closed on Sunday along with other approaches to the bridge including
- I-676 north/southbound CLOSED between #5 (Route 30) and the Ben Franklin Bridge
- Route 38 westbound CLOSED at Route 130 in Pennsauken
- Route 70 westbound CLOSED at Route 38 in Pennsauken
- Admiral Wilson Boulevard CLOSED between Airport Circle and the Ben Franklin Bridge