Department of Communications
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE · Washington, DC 20017
202-541-3200 · 202-541-3173 fax · www.usccb.org/comm
What is it?
The Popemobile is the name given to the specially-equipped vehicles used to transport the Pope at various public appearances. The vehicles are designed to protect the Pope while allowing him to be visible to the crowds.
What special equipment does the Popemobile have?
The special equipment includes bullet-proof glass surrounding the Pope (added after the 1981 attempt on Pope John Paul II's life), a handrail so the Pope can stand and wave to the crowds while the vehicle is in motion, and steps to allow ease of entry into and out of the vehicle.
Who was the first Pope to use a Popemobile?
Pope John Paul II was the first Pope to use a Popemobile. However, the idea originally stems from a mobile version of the papal throne used for centuries. This chair on poles was carried by twelve bearers and allowed the Pope to be seen by the people when traveling locally.
Is there only one Popemobile?
Pope Benedict XVI has two Popemobiles. One of these will be shipped from Rome for his use during his visit to the United States.
Who made the Popemobile?
The Popemobile that Pope Benedict XVI will use in the United States was made by Mercedes-Benz.
In the past, other automobile manufacturers have made the vehicles used by the Holy Father on his various trips. In some cases, those vehicles were kept in the countries of use after the Pope's departure.
When will Pope Benedict XVI use the Popemobile during his trip to the United States?
As of March 24, 2008, the Holy See has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will use the Popemobile for the following trips:
Wednesday, April 16:
Noon: From the White House to the apostolic nunciature (Massachusetts Avenue NW)
5:00 pm: To the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Fourth Street and Michigan Avenue NE)
Thursday, April 17:
6:15 p.m.: From the Catholic University of America to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center (Harewood Road NE)
Saturday, April 19:
1:15 p.m.: From the residence of the Archbishop of New York to the residence of the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations.
What other forms of transportation will Pope Benedict XVI use during his visit to the United States?
In addition to the Popemobile, the Holy Father will travel by plane, helicopter, and car.
Sources: Catholic News Service, Mercedes-Benz website