- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

Few D.C. denizens get excited about motorcades in Washington, but one featuring the Popemobile will probably turn some heads.

The Archdiocese of Washington announced Thursday that Pope Francis will ride in the papal SUV between the Ellipse and the National Mall after he meets with President Obama at the White House on Sept. 23.

Expecting tens of thousands of people to come to Washington to see the pope, the archdiocese said a designated viewing area will be set up along the motorcade route.

Entry into the viewing area will be free to the public and tickets will not be required, but spectators will have to go through security check points east and west of the Ellipse on Constitution Avenue NW, east of the Washington Monument near Jefferson Drive and 15th Street NW, and west of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW.

Spectators are encouraged to use Metro, and the subway stations closest to the viewing area are Farragut West, Farragut North, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Federal Triangle, and Smithsonian.

Access to the viewing area will be granted on a first come, first serve basis. On Sept. 23, the security check points on the Ellipse and the Mall will open at 4 a.m. and close at 10 a.m.

After that, no other spectators will be allowed into the area, and those already there will not be allowed to leave and re-enter the area.

No food and drinks are allowed to be brought from outside, but concession stands and restrooms will be available within the viewing area.

The archdiocese said attendees can bring “handheld flags, banners and signs, [but] items supported by poles are not allowed.” Other banned items include backpacks, bags, Thermoses, chairs, selfie sticks, umbrellas, bicycles and drones, among others. All confiscated items will not be returned.

Large screen TVs on the grounds of the Washington Monument will air live coverage of Francis’ visit on the 23rd. Around noon, he will address and pray with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle. At about 4:15 p.m., Francis will celebrate a canonization Mass for Father Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish priest who founded several missions in California, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

On his first ever trip to the United States, Francis will travel to New York and Philadelphia after visiting Washington Sept. 22-24.

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