Papal visit spurs frenzied PR outreach

WASHINGTON, DC: After Pope Benedict XVI's red Prada loafers descended from "Shepherd One" to the tarmac at Andrews Air Force base on Tuesday, April 15, the papal visit officially began, along with the work of several teams of PR professionals.

WASHINGTON, DC: After Pope Benedict XVI's red Prada loafers descended from “Shepherd One” to the tarmac at Andrews Air Force base on Tuesday, April 15, the papal visit officially began, along with the work of several teams of PR professionals.

The PR efforts behind Pope Benedict XVI's papal visit and good-will campaign to the United States from April 15 to 29, are primarily being driven by PR professionals from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB], along with the Archdioceses of New York and Washington, when the pope divides his time between their respective regions.

The Pope's stated purpose for his trip to the US might be to present for 20 to 25 minutes to the United Nations on April 18, but before and after that speech, his time will be packed with press events and public outreach.

For the Washington Archdiocese, planning for the three-day onslaught of events, like the ticketed Mass at Nationals Park tomorrow, April 17, began early in November, with only 20% of several hundred media requests being approved, said Georgina Stark, a communications assistant for the Washington Archdiocese.

“In 1979, when Pope John Paul came, there was a mass on the mall and thousands upon thousands showed up. Obviously, in a post-9/11 world, mass at Nationals Park will be ticketed with the Secret Service handling security details,” said Stark, who has to be at the stadium at 3am, that morning.

Stark added, “We've been working night and day during the visit, but it's worth it be part of such a historic event.

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