STOCKBRIDGE -- Organizers of Divine Mercy Sunday events expect to draw 24,000 visitors to the annual event thanks to a historic confluence of events this year.
For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, two popes, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, will be canonized on Sunday.
That event, which will take place at the Vatican in Rome, will carry special significance for this weekend's events at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, a ministry of the Marian Fathers.
"We're expecting a record crowd," said Robin Parow, director of communications for the Marians.
The two-day event will be held at the shrine at Eden Hill on Prospect Road in Stockbridge.
"Most people will be here on Sunday, but we expect about 6,000 or so to be here on Saturday," said Parow.
The Marians will have volunteers at the site, plus officers from Stockbridge, Lee and Great Barrington on hand for crowd control.
With parking at a premium, visitors are urged to park at Monument Mountain Regional High School, where they will be shuttled from there to Eden Hill. A total of 17 shuttle buses will be available, said Parow, and will run on a regular basis all weekend.
The weather forecast calls for cloudy conditions with a chance of brief showers, with temperatures in the 60s.
There are no restaurants or food service at Eden Hill, although there will be beverage and snack machines.
On Saturday, a Holy Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m. and a vigil Mass at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, there will be musical performances, talks and a multilingual rosary running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mother of Mercy outdoor shrine. A Holy Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. at the same site. At 3 p.m., a novena and blessing of religious articles will be held.
For more detailed information about the weekend schedule, go to www.thedivinemercy.org/shrine/tours.information.
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