Tickets go fast for N.Y. Easter Mass

April 07, 1996|By N.Y. TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK -- The tickets are free, but for those who want them, they are priceless.

There are only 4,200 available spaces at the midmorning Easter Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, including about 1,000 in standing-room areas.

About 20,000 people will enter its grand double doors today for eight Masses between 7 a.m. and 5: 30 p.m., but at the 10: 15 a.m. service, when Cardinal John O'Connor delivers his homily, admission is by ticket only.

This year's ticket requests, which must be made in writing, arrived from Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, California, Canada and Japan, among other places.

Filling the requests is Colette Thompson, the office assistant at the cathedral's rectory. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is the first day St. Patrick's accepts ticket orders. It fell Feb. 21 this year, and by mid-March, Ms. Thompson was down to the standing-room tickets.

Msgr. Anthony J. DallaVilla, the rector, said the cathedral draws so many people because it is "a spiritual oasis." But the main attraction, he said, is Cardinal O'Connor, and his Easter homily. "He's the main reason why the crowds are so large," Monsignor Dallavilla said.

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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