PHILADELPHIA - The wait to get inside the security perimeter for Sunday afternoon’s papal mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway reached several hours, according to FOX 29’s staff and social media reports.
Reporter Chris O’Connell filed a video from one security line at 19th and Race streets around mid-afternoon Sunday, saying the wait there was an average of two-and-a-half to three hours long.
“They good thing about it is that people are taking it in stride,” O’Connell said. “They’re in a very good mood, knowing what is ahead of them, and that is seeing Pope Francis saying a papal Mass, another historic event here in the City of Philadelphia. But if you’re coming down, pack your patience.”
He further advised that attendees make sure they’re aware of all the security measures, what you can and can’t take inside the secure zone for the Mass.
Likewise, FOX 29’s Dave Schratwieser tweeted a photo from 19th and Callowhill streets of another long line.
One woman told us on Twitter, “you should report on the ridiculous line at security 21st street. In line 2.5 hours. Still 2 blocks away. #popeinphilly”
Organizers expected 1 million people for the Mass, scheduled to being at 4 p.m.
When that time came, the city said security screening will continue, but advised that areas east of 18th Street do not require security screening , and there are more than 40 screens around Center City for pilgrims.
The city began warning people early in the day to get to the checkpoints soon to make sure they were in place by the time the Mass began. Later, it reassured folks that the screeners were working as fast as possible.
The Associated Press reported that most pilgrims took the wait in stride, although some who grew impatient jumped over concrete barriers to get out of line and try their luck at other checkpoints.
SEPTA tweeted to advise Spring Garden passengers that a security checkpoint at 20th and Callowhill streets had begun accepting general public and ticketed guests to alleviate lines.