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like Madonna, the Pope is playing MSG (instead of Billy Joel); Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan & Jennifer Hudson opening

POPE on Rolling Stone

Catholicism’s arch nemesis Madonna recently finished a two night stand at Madison Square Garden, complete with stripper nuns and the Last Supper. Blasphemous? Maybe, but that won’t stop fellow Rolling Stone cover star POPE FRANCIS from taking over the same stage for a giant NYC mass on September 25th, complete with musical pre-show…

A two-hour pre-Mass show will keep the [Madison Square Garden] audience engaged as people wade through metal detectors and Francis wends his way downtown from East Harlem. The organizers are calling the [Friday, 9/25] show “A Journey in Faith,” a sequence of videos, catechesis, prayer and performances by, among others, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan and Jennifer Hudson.

The program will also include a recitation of the rosary, with 10,000 rosaries available for sale.

The concession stands will offer the usual hot dogs, chicken fingers and pretzels, as well as higher-end fare like Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Simply Chicken sandwich, Andrew Carmellini’s Sausage Boss and Drew Nieporent’s Daily Burger. Forget the beer: Alcoholic beverages will not be sold. [NY Times]

No alcohol, but unlike Morrissey, the Pope is apparently cool with hot dogs. Oh, and Billy Joel was originally supposed to play the Garden for like the millionth time on that date, but Billy now has 9/26 instead (who’s in for both nights??).

The Pope, currently in Cuba, arrives in NYC on 9/24, and will also cause traffic jams around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the United Nations, the 9/11 Memorial, Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, and Central Park before heading to Philadelphia, where Sister Sledge will perform for him.

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