Vatican warns of ticket scam to Pople John Paul II Beatification

February 21, 2011 3:21:45 PM PST
The Vatican is warning about a scam.

Some unscrupulous people are offering to sell tickets to a special mass for John Paul II in May.

The only problem is the event is free.

Iwona Harcley has not decided yet, but she thinks she may be headed on a trip from her home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to the Vatican in May.

Excitement is building among Roman Catholics worldwide over the Beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II. A spiritual leader who has a special place in her Polish American heart.

"I met Pope John Paul II in 2002. It is a moment I will never forget. I carry a picture of it in my wallet every single day," said Harcley.

Many share her love of John Paul II. Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church and the third of the four steps involved in attaining sainthood in the church.

Vatican officials estimate as many as 2 million pilgrims will come to share in the celebration. But now the Vatican is warning the faithful of a scam that has come to its attention. It says some unscrupulous travel agents are adding a service charge for tickets to the event. Other Vatican public ceremonies do require tickets issued for free but in this case, even that is not necessary.

"In the case of the beatification of Pope John Paul seems that tickets will not be required," said Msgr. Kieran Harrington, of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

No tickets, no invitations required. Just show up. The Diocese of Brooklyn estimates that about 100 of its parishioner will attend the beatification and that number could grow. Many coming from the section of Brooklyn often called little Poland.

Reputable travel agents like Regina Tours are busy making preparations and booking trips for the event. It has two packages its offering and a word of warning.

"There are not tickets to be sold to the beatification, they are free," said Nicke Mancino.

The Vatican hopes people get the message.