10 Places Pope Francis Should Visit When He Comes to Philadelphia in 2015

Including: a cheesesteak you can order in Latin, the home of our city’s most fervent fans, and a headline writer’s dream come true.

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

File this under sentences I never expected to type: I’m really excited that Pope Francis is definitely, probably, maybe visiting Philadelphia in 2015! I never thought I’d care about a papal presence in my own city, but  Francis’s sorta-liberal views about homosexuality and  penchant for selfies, has endeared him to cynics across the world—including recovering Catholics like me. (Not to mention big-time media outlets like Gawker who called him “Cool Pope Francis” and Rolling Stone who put him on the cover of their upcoming February issue.)

A pope hasn’t visited Philadelphia since 1979 when John Paul II came to town. Since the current pontiff is notably hipper than his staunchy predecessors (see: selfies), we owe it to him to show him a good time in our humble metropolis. Here, 10 must-visit Philadelphia sites that Pope Francis should definitely, probably, maybe see.


1. Pat’s: Because everybody needs a little local flavor when they come to Philadelphia and Geno’s definitely wouldn’t like it if he ordered a cheesesteak in Latin.

2. The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul: Since it’s our Archdiocese’s head church and John Paul II celebrated mass there during his 1979 trip, it’s likely that Pope Francis will make a stop here. And with good reason — this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

3. Pub on Passyunk East: The pope at the POPE? You’re welcome, headline writers.

4. The Wendy’s at 15th and Chestnut: Anyone who frequents Center City knows that there are some weird vibes at this place. As Philebrity points out, this corner has been the site of riots, flashmobs, Occupy Philly and most recently, a Kimye pitstop. I don’t know if Pope Francis could — or even should — exorcise the strange energy from this part of the city, but I think it couldn’t hurt to have him say a little prayer in the general vicinity.

5. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: There is nowhere more hopeful in the city than CHOP, where even in the face of crippling illness, children and their families find comfort and help. The staff at CHOP are among the best humans in Philadelphia and the Pope should give them a little love.

6. Buca di Beppo for a visit the Pope Room: But only if the PopeMobile gets good gas mileage. After all, the Center City location closed down so he’d have to drive all the way out to Exton.

7. PPL Park: A big fan of soccer, Pope Francis would surely enjoy watching the Philadelphia Union play. Better yet: Get him to hang out with the Sons of Ben, the team’s most fervent supporters.

8. St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls: Each year, more and more Philadelphia Catholic schools close their doors permanently. Both of my alma maters are gone and that stinks. As Michael Callahan wrote in the May 2013 issue of this magazine, “ If you went through Catholic school here, you’re bonded in a unique way that people who went to public or private school just can’t understand.” St. Hubert’s has habitually been on the chopping block, but because of their alumni association — a group of women with, I can only assume, actual super powers — the school remains open. If any of the Catholic schools in Philadelphia deserve a papal blessing, it is this one.

9. The 10 Trolley: Or really any public transit in the city. The Pope is a known supporter of public transit — even giving up his chauffeur in order to take the bus to work — so a ride on SEPTA seems appropriate. (Not to mention, he could do some real good for the city if he sees some of the things Phillymag staffer Victor Fiorillo has seen while riding around Philadelphia. If ever there was an opportunity to minister to the people …)

10. Voyeur: Not only is Pope Francis the closest thing to a gay ally that the Catholic Church has seen in, well, forever, he’s also a former nightclub bouncer and a fan of dancing. They’re probably not doing the tango at Voyeur these days, but maybe the Pope could be convinced to twerk.

  • KMac22

    Seeing that Pope Francis is from Argentina, I bet Geno’s would be even more enraged if he ordered in Spanish.

  • GoodCatholic

    The Pope’s views on homosexuality are anything but liberal …

    • Jay Bee

      It’s all relative.

  • Jason M. Carfagno

    You guys need to fact check before writing things.

  • Steve Kapschock

    He should go to a Flyers/Penguins game and save everybody’s souls from going to Hell!

  • Mark Leo

    How about St. Joseph’s?.. The Jesuit University of Philadelphia. Makes more sense than some of these.

    • John

      But the pope is catholic…

      • J

        Lol

      • Mark Leo

        The pope is a Jesuit, which is an order of Catholic Priests.

    • CamphillCommittee

      Why would anyone want to go to St. Joseph’s (PA)?

      • Mark Leo

        Says someone from Harrisburg haha

        • CamphillCommittee

          Go La Salle.

  • Baloo

    Despite what PhillyMag may think, The Pope does not have liberal views on homosexuality. Why not actually fact-check?

  • ProudCatholic

    St. Hubert is the best! Go Bambies!!!

  • Linda

    Yes, he should visit St. Huberts…and all the alum that helped with the school’s continued opening be invited to the mass.

  • Karen Whalen

    I would love for him to visit Father Judge too! St. Hubert’s definitely! FJ is such a beautiful school and you can truly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit there…I would say that for St. Hubert’s too! He would have to see their chapels and meet the priests at Judge! So hoping he is impressed with our city, overall!

  • Karen Whalen

    oh, i think he should visit St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Just the name, itself, is enough to peak his curiosity! that’s a great hospital!

  • Tim

    Couldn’t have added Saint Joseph’s Prep? Not only is it Jesuit (like Pope Francis), but it’s got a big enough church for a Mass…

    • Mark Leo

      Agreed, but add the University as well

  • Michael Quinn

    GO TO THE STEPS OF NORTH CATHOLIC AND BLESS THEM W/ ALL ALUM.

  • Jim Bell

    How come Roman Catholic School for Boys is not on the list? It’s only the oldest catholic high school in the nation!!!!!!! It has one of the strongest alumni’s in the country and is recognized nationally! Yes, I am a graduate of Roman so this seems a bit biased but look at the history. Roman was close to closing down in the 70′s but was bailed out by who else? None other than the alumni! Our school burnt down and no one wanted to repair it. Who stepped in? The alumni again! Our school is proud and has been through much more than all the other catholic high schools in the nation, let alone Philadelphia. During this time of schools closing due to the cutting of funds, low enrollment, and so forth Roman is producing a profit and the attendance is only increasing! Not to take anything away from St. Huberts because they did a phenomenal job with fighting for their school, but Roman is very deserving of a visit from Pope Francis!

    • eileen

      I AGREE. Same with HALLAHAN_ the oldest all girls’ catholic school in the US!

  • Can

    Except pats is not the place to go for the best cheesesteak in Philly…Joe’s Steaks is number one. :)

  • Barbara Ann Zippi

    Recommending a visit to The Wall of Prayers at The Delaware County Veterans Memorial in Newtown Square, the Philadelphia regions newest monument to veterans of all branches, from any region. http://www.DelcoVeteransMemorial.com . Can we can public support for this?

  • Gladys

    Um no. This pope will visit all the areas that need him.

    My list, not in any particular order,

    Mantua

    Hunting Park

    West Philly

    Parts of point breeze

    Parts of South Philly

    Parts of North Philly.

    You get the idea.

    • Mike

      Yes, because prayer will really help these people lol

  • PHL-e

    Why would he ever go to Pat’s no.1? Take him to Jim’s!!!!!

  • Tony DeSantis

    He should come to Sacred Heart Church in Camden.

  • Mo

    Why not join the rest of the tourists at the Rocky statue? Please, don’t! He should go to a simple neighborhood Catholic church and meet his American flock. Many people want to meet him.

  • Celeste Mayer

    Little Flower High School