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Archdiocese to allow souvenirs for pope's visit


For Pope John Paul II's August visit to Denver, more than 100 church-approved items were sold to help defray costs -- from official fanny packs to "pope scopes," peri- scopes that gave users a view of the pontiff over the crowd.

Last week, officials of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Baltimore said no such merchandising of souvenirs would be authorized for the pope's scheduled trip here Oct. 23.

But that changed yesterday.

A small selection of official souvenirs -- likely to include T-shirts, caps and coffee mugs -- will be sold by the church, said archdiocesan spokesman Bill Blaul.

The reversal was prompted only partly by a desire for revenues to help offset expenses of the 10-hour papal visit, he said.

"We know there will be unofficial vendors descending on Baltimore," Mr. Blaul said. "After talking to people in other cities // that the pope has visited, we decided we could sell a small group of items that would be a little more tasteful, and ensure good quality at reasonable prices."

The pope's visit, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., will include a downtown parade, a Mass at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and stops at downtown Baltimore's Basilica of the Assumption and North Baltimore's Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

The archdiocese has not released a cost estimate for the Baltimore visit. The church's portion of expenses for the four-day visit to Denver was put at $4.5 million, but local church officials have emphasized that the October visit will cost far less.

Merchandise approved by the Baltimore archdiocese will carry an official, copyrighted logo, Mr. Blaul said. It features a sketch of the Basilica, the first cathedral of the first Catholic diocese in the United States, flanked by elements of the Maryland flag and crowned by the words, "An Historic Celebration."

As announced earlier, the Baltimore archdiocese will sell a videotape and a book of photographs to commemorate the pope's visit.

But archdiocesan officials have not yet established the complete line of souvenirs, or the precise contract that will be negotiated with companies that make and sell the items.

All proceeds will go to the local archdiocese, said Mr. Blaul, who noted that collections to cover expenses at the Vatican are taken up in the churches each September and during Lent.

Yesterday, church planners also unveiled a poster being distributed to the parishes to promote collections at all Masses in the archdiocese June 24 and 25. The offerings will help pay for a temporary stage and altar in the stadium and other expenses related to the papal visit.

The poster features a photograph of Pope John Paul raising his hands to acknowledge the cheers of a crowd during his visit to the Denver area, with Baltimore Archbishop William H. Keeler at the pope's right.

The Denver trip, John Paul's third to the United States as pope, was part of World Youth Day '93. He has not visited Baltimore since 1976 -- when he was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland -- two years before he was elected pope.

"On Sunday, Oct. 23, 1994, Pope John Paul will lead a celebration of our rich heritage and living faith. I invite you to share in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to welcome the Holy Father to the Archdiocese of Baltimore. May God bless you for your prayers and generosity."

Security for the pope's visit to Baltimore will be supervised by the U.S. Secret Service, assisted by local police agencies. But only costs related to the protection of the head of the Vatican State will be covered by government funds.

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