Metro is issuing this special "Mass Pass" for the April 17 papal Mass at Nationals Park.
Metro is issuing this special "Mass Pass" for the April 17 papal Mass at Nationals Park.
Because parking will be practically nonexistent at Nationals Park for Pope Benedict XVI's April 17 Mass there, Metro will run more and earlier trains than usual that day.

Of the approximately 45,000 people who will attend the Mass, Metro estimates that about 25,000 will take the subway to the Navy Yard Station, which is about one block from the stadium. The Navy Yard is on Metro's Green Line.

"Metrorail will have extra trains and personnel to help patrons get to and from the Mass," said Steven Taubenkibel, a spokesperson for Metro. "In addition, the new expanded west entrance of the Navy Yard Metrorail station will be converted to exit only before the Mass and entry only afterwards."

The Metrorail system will open at 5 a.m. and operate its regular weekday rush-hour service until 9:30 a.m. The Mass is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Mass-goers are encouraged to arrive early

Taubenkibel said "Metro expects its heaviest travel period will be from opening to 8 a.m., as patrons attending Mass at Nationals Park are scheduled to be in the ballpark by 9:15 a.m."

To accommodate the crowds, Taubenkibel added, Metrorail will deploy extra Green Line trains at the Mass. All trains will be a combination of six-car and eight-car trains.

He also warned that Metrobus routes operating near the ballpark will be affected due to expected detours.

To celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit here, Metro is offering a commemorative one-day "Mass Pass" that will give riders unlimited access to Metro all day on April 17.

"It will feature the event logo so it will be a great keepsake of this special day," Susan Gibbs, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington, said.

Metro will sell the one-day commemorative pass for $9.

Both Gibbs and Taubenkibel suggested Mass-goers purchase the "Mass Pass" in advance to avoid the long lines expected at farecard machines that day. To purchase passes, log on to Individuals and groups up to 22 persons can purchase on-line using a credit card. For groups larger than 22 people, call 202-962-5700 to place a bulk order.

The deadline for online and bulk orders is April 4. After April 4, "Mass Passes can be purchased at the sales office at the Metro Center station, the Pentagon Transit Center or Metro Headquarters, 600 5th Street, N.W.

Some parishes are also sponsoring buses. Ticket holders should contact their own parishes to see if such bus service is available. Buses will park at RFK Stadium and shuttle buses will transport Mass-goers to and from the stadium to Nationals Park.