York County COVID hospitalizations increase alongside three deaths

Long lines at checkpoints hours before pope Mass


Follow York Dispatch reporters Jessica Schladebeck and Sara Blumberg on Twitter as they cover Pope Francis in Philadelphia.

Click here for a gallery of photos from Pope Francis' Philadelphia visit.

PHILADELPHIA — Crowds are forming early on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway for another papal parade and an outdoor Mass, hours before they are set to begin.

Visitors are already packed in as tight in the front of the viewing section as they were for the start of closing festival Saturday of the World Meeting of Families.

And long backups are occurring at security checkpoints.

It's an early sign that the 4 p.m. Mass is likely to draw the biggest turnout of the pope's U.S. visit.

Philadelphia's mass transit agency reports increased ridership on special papal trains heading into the city. More than 500 buses carrying 26,000 people had arrived by 11 a.m., nearly half of the shuttles organizers expect for the Mass.

Security officials are urging visitors to get to the checkpoints as early as possible to avoid last-minute bottlenecks.

York Dispatch reporters Sara Blumberg and Jessica Schladedeck waited more than two hours to get into the event.

Many York County residents used the wait to embrace with others who were excited to see the pope.

Arlette Figdore and her husband Phillip of Conewago Township bought buttons during their wait. Their entrance only had four metal detectors checking in visitors.