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The Papal Visit : Papal Digest : Faithful Get Boosted Out of Buses

September 17, 1987| Compiled by NIKKI FINKE from staff reports

Unfortunately, the papal visit did not bring out the best in some quarters. As a result, about 1,000 faithful belonging to 14 churches in Riverside and San Bernardino counties had to miss Tuesday night's Coliseum Mass because their 25 chartered buses failed to appear.

Frank Lawrence, president of Eagle Charter, which was responsible for hiring the buses, alleged that other churches in need of transportation bribed the bus owners into breaking their contracts with his company.

"They knew that the buses were taken, but they came in at the last minute and offered twice as much money," Lawrence said.

The charter company president said he will file suit against the bus companies who defected. But that won't help the hundreds who missed the Mass.

"I was looking forward to seeing Pope John Paul," said Francis Ridder, one of 147 parishioners left stranded at St. Adelaide's Church in Highland. A few of St. Adelaide's ticket-holders, like Robert Smith, were able to reach the Coliseum in time by car after waiting three hours for the promised buses. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Smith said, "and I felt heartbroken because most of the people from St. Adelaide's couldn't make it."

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