Hudson Valley priests prep for Pope Benedict's visit

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Two Orange County priests have been feverishly working to ensure Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit goes off without a hitch.

The pope arrives in New York Friday, April 18. He plans to give a youth rally in Yonkers the following day and then celebrate a Mass Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Bishop Dominick Lagonegro and Father Frank Bassett, both from the Sacred Heart Parish, have been involved in the planning for months. They currently meet weekly to plan for the pope?s visit.

The church leaders have been mulling the logistics for out-of-town bishops. They're also handling many requests for tickets to the events. A limited number of tickets were raffled off to allow some of Sacred Heart's 1,300 parishioners to see the pope.

Bassett and Lagonegro remember similar excitement when Pope John Paul II came to St. Joseph's in 1995. Lagonegro also had fond memories of a chance encounter with Benedict while he was visiting the Vatican.

"He took the time to just stop and say hello and ask where we were from," Lagonegro says. "Just very, very nice about it."

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