The lights are ready to be turned on. The set is complete. The cameras are in place. All we need now is for Pope Francis to begin his trip to Cuba and the United States and we will have the action we have been anticipating.
This past week, the news team at NET, the diocesan cable TV station, has been going through all of its last-minute check lists to make sure that we are ready to go on Saturday, Sept. 19, with complete live coverage of the papal trip. It will be NET-TV’s longest stretch of live broadcasts.
Our correspondents who are normally seen on Currents, the daily news show on Time Warner and Cablevision, have been given their assignments in the three cities that the pope will visit in the U.S. Tablet reporters have been vetted by the Secret Service and have been credentialed for different sites throughout the city. At some sites, Tablet and Currents reporters will team up to bring viewers the best news and commentary about Pope Francis’ impact on America.
Currents anchor Liz Faublas will be at the desk to lead us through all the coverage. She will be ably assisted by Father Joseph Espaillat of the Archdiocese of New York; Father Agustino Torres, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal; and Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio, heard throughout the East Coast.
In addition to our reporters in the field, we have engaged the services of popular writer Austen Ivereigh (“The Great Reformer”) and former CNS Vatican reporter John Thavis, who will be checking in with the studio and also posting on our social media. Leah Libresco, another popular author and blogger, will share her insights from Washington, D.C., where she will be joining our cameras. Ivereigh also will be on the ground in Cuba, sending back eyewitness accounts of reactions to the Holy Father as he makes this most important stop.
Because the pope’s native language is Spanish, he will deliver the majority of his talks in Spanish. We will provide English subtitles, as well as Spanish subtitles for the four talks in English.
Parishes in Brooklyn and Queens were each allotted two tickets to attend the papal Mass at Madison Square Garden. Most were awarded by raffles this past weekend.
The Diocese of Brooklyn will be honored to welcome the pope to New York City since he will land here in Queens at John F. Kennedy Airport. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will be on hand as well as Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Mayor Bill de Blasio. A small group of about 200 people, including diocesan media, will make up the welcoming delegation for this event that is not open to the public. The pope is scheduled to fly by helicopter from JFK to Manhattan.
Many people have asked why a bigger venue wasn’t used for the Holy Father’s Mass. The answer is that nothing is to overshadow the main purpose of this journey – the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, where the pope will travel from New York. There he will celebrate Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on an open stretch that runs from SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral to the Museum of Art, made famous by Rocky’s running up the steps in the film of the same name.
We’re ready and we’re hoping that you will tune in early on Saturday morning as we share this historic journey with you. And if you get some photos from papal events, send them to me at email@example.com and we’ll post them on our website.