Religion: Get Ready, The Pope Is Coming

Logistics, protests and a gaudy array of gewgaws

Given the task, a legion of angels would have helped. The shopping list was gargantuan: for San Antonio, 10,000 volunteer ushers; for Columbia, S.C., ten miles of crowd-control rope; for Miami, a call-up of 2,400 National Guardsmen; for Phoenix, 150,000 silver-hued crucifixes for distribution before and during Mass; for New Orleans, 1,500 potted mums for the altar and 1,700 portable toilets carted in from all over the South. Scores of committees have been working for two years and more planning the Pope's nine-city tour, and still not everything could be anticipated. Sounding bemused, Monsignor Roger Morin, chief planner for John Paul's...