The Canonization Mass of Blessed Junípero Serra will be celebrated on the East Portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The congregation will be seated or standing near the Basilica or on the campus of The Catholic University of America. The Mass will begin at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. What follows is essential information for those with tickets to the canonization Mass.

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are required for attendance at the papal Mass on September 23. No one without a ticket issued by the Archdiocese of Washington will be allowed to enter the secure area of the Catholic University campus where the Mass will be held.

Click here to watch a live stream beginning at 8:45 am through the conclusion of the Canonization Mass. 


Parish groups, religious communities, and other groups should consider traveling together by charter bus. All buses will be given instructions regarding drop-off locations, off-site parking, and parking passes.ALL BUSES must register no later than Friday, September 18th, by contacting Christa Lopiccolo at to receive an official Canonization Mass Bus Permit. All passengers must be ticketed guests. All other passengers will be turned away at the entrance. Please try to fill your bus to capacity. If your group did not receive enough tickets to fill a bus, please consider working with a nearby parish to fill the bus to capacity. Each bus must have an appointed bus captain who can receive updates. This information will be required to register your bus.

Metrorail is also highly recommended as a mode of transportation to and from the canonization Mass. Due to the expected volume on Metro, WMATA will be augmenting its bus service to Fort Totten, Rhode Island Avenue, and Columbia Heights stations to accommodate the crowds. The Mass venue is within walking distance of the Brookland/CUA Metrorail stop on the Red Line, as well as the Rhode Island Avenue Metrorail stop, also on the Red Line. Please buy Metro tickets in advance and expect delays. (See related Metro service advisory.)

Taxicabs, Uber, Lyft, limousines, etc., will be allowed to deliver guests with tickets as far as the entrance to Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20017 (cars must approach Trinity from the west). Ticketed guests planning to come to the Mass in this manner should be prepared to walk from the drop-off point to the security checkpoints. A high level of security will be in place for the various papal events in the city, so ticket holders should allow extra time for heavy traffic and probable detours. Cars will not be allowed to park or remain on or near campus during the event.

All those traveling via automobile (including limousines and taxicabs) should be prepared to find alternate routes to reach the Basilica/CUA venue. Streets in the immediate vicinity of the venue — Michigan Avenue, Monroe Street, 4th Street, John McCormack Road, and Harewood Road — may be closed early in the day.


Please note that there are four (4) security checkpoints (highlighted on the map) that will allow access to the Mass. Only individuals with tickets or with media credentials issued specifically for the canonization Mass will be allowed into the venue. Each ticket holder is assigned to a specific section of the venue for seating/standing. To reach their places easily, ticket holders are urged to check the section assignment printed on their ticket and to use the Basilica/CUAentrances as follows:

Sections 14, 16, 20, 22, 24, 26 and Sections F, G, H, and I should use the GREEN Gate and arrive at the venue from the east if at all possible.

Sections C, D, and E should use the ORANGE Gate and arrive at the venue from the east if at all possible.

Sections 1, 3, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, concelebrating priests, and Section B should use the YELLOW Gate and  arrive at the venue from the west if at all possible.

Sections 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 18, 21, 23, 25, 41, Basilica, and Section A should use the PURPLE Gate and arrive at the venue from the west if at all possible.

Volunteers will be posted at the entrance to direct ticket holders to the appropriate security entrance, and will be stationed inside the secure perimeter to assist them in finding their assigned seating/standing section.

Click here to view the seating chart.


Ticket holders should plan to arrive at the Basilica/CUA on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m., which supersedes ticket information. All guests must arrive and be in their assigned seating or standing sections no later than 3 p.m. Volunteers located throughout the venue will be readily available to direct ticket holders to their assigned seating/standing section and to other locations open to ticket holders.

For security reasons, ticket holders arriving late may be denied access to the venue.

Ticket holders for the canonization Mass are strongly encouraged to dissuade family, friends, and acquaintances who do not have tickets from coming to the Basilica/CUA. There is no waiting area on or adjacent to campus for those without tickets. Security in the immediate area will dictate vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns and those who do not hold tickets for the Mass may be directed away from campus.

It is anticipated that departure after the canonization Mass may take a significant amount of time. Guests should prepare to remain in the venue after the Mass ends until such time as it is convenient to depart.


The attire for the Mass is business or business casual. Please respect the solemnity of the canonization Mass by dressing accordingly.


Cameras and binoculars on a neck-strap or carried in hand are permitted in the venue, however, flash photography is prohibited. The use of camcorders or other electronic recording devices is permitted. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off or set to silent during the canonization Mass.


Guests should be aware that there will be a moderate amount of walking, some of it uphill, from drop-off points, and the Brookland/CUA Metrorail stop, to the location for the canonization Mass.


Ticket holders will not be allowed to bring food or water into the Mass venue. Guests may purchase food, water, and religious goods once inside the secure perimeter. All food items must be consumed prior to entering the assigned seating/standing areas as they are considered sacred space for the celebration of the liturgy.


Portable outdoor restroom facilities will be available inside the secure perimeter for ticket holders.


The following items are prohibited and are subject to confiscation at the security entrances to the Mass venue:

• Aerosols
• Ammunition
• Animals other than service dogs
• Backpacks
• Bags and signs exceeding 8”x 6”x 4”
• Balloons
• Bicycles
• Chairs
• Coolers
• Drones or other unmanned aircraft system (i.e., unmanned aerial vehicles)
• Explosives
• Firearms
• Glass, thermal, or metal containers

• Large religious statues either standalone or on procession platforms
• Laser pointers
• Mace/pepper spray
• Packages
• Selfie sticks
• Structures
• Supports for signs and placards
• Toy guns
• Umbrellas
• Weapons of any kind
• Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards

Surrendered items will not be returned, nor available for pick-up.


The Catholic University of America is a smoke-free campus. Smoking will be strictly prohibited anywhere inside the venue before or during the Mass.


No gifts may be presented to the Holy Father, nor will it be possible for him to personally bless individual articles.


In the event that someone falls ill, first aid stations will be set up inside the secure perimeter.


In the event that family members get separated, there is a designated family reunification center in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on the campus.


Individuals with special needs, and those requiring parking accomodations, must notify the event organizers as soon as possible. Due to security precautions and procedures, some accommodations may not be possible. It is especially important that the organizers know in advance of any guests using wheelchairs or requiring special assistance. To request accommodations, please send an email, with name, email address, and phone number, to Iris Crofoot at no later than September 17. Requests received after that date may not be honored.

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