Fresno Woman Prepares for Papal Visit

April 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pope Benedict XVI will perform mass for about 100,000 next week when he makes his first trip to the U.S. since becoming pope, but only 7 people from the Diocese of Fresno have received tickets to attend. One of them is the director Fresno's Catholic Charities, who'll also be attending a special White House ceremony.

Catherine Manfredo said she thought an email she received days ago was a joke. "'It said, from the White House, the President and Mrs. Bush cordially invite you to the arrival ceremony of his holiness?' I said, 'somebody is playing a joke on me. The White House doesn't send emails!'" said Manfredo.

Manfredo is leaving for Washington D.C. Sunday and will be standing on the south lawn when the pope arrives at the White House Wednesday.

As the executive director of Fresno's Catholic Charities, she also got a ticket to the papal mass at the brand new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. "Going to a papal mass is one of those special moments in your life where you feel connected to the world in the Catholic Church," Manfredo said.

This will be the second papal mass Manfredo attends. She was also one of thousands who celebrated mass at L.A's Coliseum with Pope John Paul II. This time, she feels an even stronger connection to the pope, because Benedict's message focuses on what she does: Charity.

Manfredo says attending both events will be an honor. "It's very special to me, spiritually, personally, but also professionally."

As her trip gets closer Manfredo is also full of excitement as she considers what to wear. "You can bring a still camera and your photo ID and that's about it. So I'll definitely be wearing something with pockets!" Manfredo said.

Manfredo will also be attending a Catholic Charities USA conference while in Washington. It was timed to coincide with the papal visit.


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