BANGOR (AP) – As a Boston Red Sox fan, Susan Moore says there’s only one reason why she’d ever set foot in Yankee Stadium – to see the pope.

Moore is one of 100 people from Maine who are preparing to go to New York to attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in his first visit to the United States. The 29-year-old Bangor woman says that at the end of Mass, when the pope blesses the people and the items they’ve brought with them, she’ll hold up her rosary and her Red Sox key chain.

“Seeing the pope is one of the things I’ve always wanted to do,” said Moore, a communicant at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor. “I’ve been to New York but not Yankee Stadium. I wouldn’t go see a game there, but I’ll go see the pope.”

Pope Benedict is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Tuesday, with events planned in Washington and in New York before his departure on Sunday. He will perform Mass at Yankee Stadium for 57,000 people on Sunday afternoon; on Thursday, he will celebrate Mass at Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland found out in January it would be allotted 100 tickets for the papal Mass in New York. Parishes published notices in January about the ticket availability and tickets were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Robichaud family of Hermon – all five of them – plan to fly out of Portland on Thursday and spend three days in New York before heading home next Monday. David and Linda Robichaud and their three children, ages 3, 7 and 9, will attend Mass.

“I’m more excited for the children than I am for myself,” Linda Robichaud said. “I really want to create a memory that will strengthen their faith. To be surrounded by that many people who share our faith can only strengthen our faith.”

Moore and her friend, 20-year-old Laura Jamo of East Millinocket, will drive to the event together. Moore grew up in the mill town and used to baby-sit Jamo.

Moore expects the experience to bring her closer to God.

“I’ve become a stronger person through my faith,” she said. “I know I’m going to be overwhelmed but this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I hope to feel a different kind of strength when I walk away from Mass with him.”

Moore’s allegiance to the Red Sox isn’t shared by all.

Mark Ackerman, who is running the Office of the Papal Visit for the New York Archdiocese, said the Yankees baseball club requested that the stadium’s grass not be touched during the event.

“The All-Star game will be there this year, and of course we’re all confident that the World Series will be there as well,” he said.

Information from: Bangor Daily News,

AP-ES-04-14-08 1030EDT

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