Pope John Paul II will be visible from the streets during his visit here next January, the chairman of the event said this week.
"I want to guarantee that if you want to see him, you will be able to," said Monsignor Richard Stika, general chairman of the papal visit for the St. Louis Archdiocese. "You may not get to talk to him for five minutes, but you can see him from the street."Heated tents will be available to those waiting along the pope's route, and vendors will sell hot chocolate, said Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Police Department, who is handling safety and operational planning for the trip.
The pope is expected to arrive between noon and 1 p.m. Jan. 26 at St. Louis' Lambert Field airport. He will depart the next day between 7 and 8 p.m.
"The pope always runs late because of the crowds," said Stika.
He holds out scant hope that the pope will stay a second night, as Archbishop Justin Rigali had hoped. All arrangements are awaiting Vatican approval, which may come this month.
St. Louis-area companies, their workers and equipment will be hired whenever possible. It might be easier to buy in volume from some national companies, but the archdiocese wants this to benefit the local community, Stika said.
The archdiocese expects to invite 98,000 guests for a papal Mass in the Trans World Dome Jan. 27, with some people viewing the Mass from the adjacent Convention Center.