Philly Is Getting a Mural of the Pope

The Pope Mural in Philadelphia

A rendering of The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century (Courtesy of the Mural Arts Program)

Three groups gathered at the future home of St. Malachy School today to announce that one of the biggest figures in history is getting a mural: The Pope.

No, not former Phillies GM and manager Paul Owens. In honor of his impending visit to Philadelphia, Pope Francis will be the subject of Cesar Viveros’ new work, “The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century.” The Mural Arts Program, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the World Meeting of Families announced the mural and showed renderings at a press conference today at 11th and Thompson in North Philadelphia. Read more »

Three Important Quotes from Archbishop Chaput’s New Interview

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput recently gave an interview to, reminiscing about his first years here, looking ahead to the visit of Pope Francis, and reflecting on whether the diocese has found a measure of stability after years of turbulence. The full transcript can be found here.

Three quotes we found interesting:

Read more »

Let’s Not Tax Airbnb for Pope’s Visit

pope city hall

Councilman Bill Greenlee has an idea: He wants to tax Philadelphians who rent out their rooms for the pope’s visit.

I have a different idea: How about we don’t?

Maybe I’d think differently if the 8.5 pecent tax on room rentals would go to city schools, a one-time windfall they surely wouldn’t refuse. But as the Inquirer notes: “Hotel tax revenue is split between the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Philadelphia, and the Convention Center.” Those are worthy organizations: They bring visitors and their money to town — and as the old trope goes, it takes money to make money, etc. etc.  Read more »

Pope Francis and Me

Illustration by Heather Landis

Illustration by Heather Landis

My love affair with Catholicism started at age nine, when my family moved from Center City to Fairmount. Those years on 23rd Street were momentous. I saw a man commit suicide by jumping off a balcony. I got held up at knifepoint. My toes were damaged in a skateboarding accident. I saw my first dead body in my friend’s house, which doubled as a funeral home. I became slowly terrorized by OCD.

If ever there was a time when I needed religion, this was it. But my parents were atheist Jews.

So I decided I wanted to be Catholic. All my neighborhood friends were Catholic, and when they went to school they wore beautiful lemon yellow shirts and emerald green jumpers. Their school’s name sounded like something out of Narnia: St. Francis Xavier. The spelling of “Xavier” almost did me in. Read more »

Should Philly Tax Airbnb Rentals?

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

If you rent out your home on Airbnb, you might be a lawbreaker wheeling and dealing in Philadelphia’s black market.

Currently, the city doesn’t allow short-term rentals in residential areas.

A new City Council bill would change that by legalizing rentals of 30 days or fewer in residential neighborhoods. But there’s a catch: The legislation would require anyone who rents out their home on Airbnb or similar sites to pay the city’s 8.5 percent hotel tax.  Read more »

Chaput Hopes Pope’s Visit “Transformative”

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Archbishop Charles Chaput gave an Easter Day interview to ABC News this weekend, highlighting preparations for the visit of Pope Francis in September.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is getting ready for Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. this September. The archbishop told ABC’s David Wright in an interview for “This Week” that he looks forward to showing the pope “an active, vibrant Catholic Church in the United States,” and hopes the visit could be transformative for Catholicism in the United States.

“Everywhere I go, I find people who want the church to be a significant part of their lives and I’m always heartened by that,” Archbishop Chaput said. “People who have been disappointed in the church are looking to have hope.”

“I’m hoping … that the visit of the Holy Father here will be the beginning of a new evangelical energy in the church in Philadelphia,” he added.

Read more »

Fundraising On Schedule for Pope’s Visit


Organizers have raised $30 million of the $45 million needed to host Pope Francis in September, KYW Radio reports.

KYW talked to Dan Hilferty, co-chairman of the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia. “From my perspective, I’d love to see mid-summer to be able to say, ‘okay, we’re finished the fundraising and we’re ready to go,’” Hilferty told the station. “I think it’s difficult to put a firm time line on that.” Read more »

Feds to Handle Security for Pope Visit

Photo |

Photo |

Security for the visit of Pope Francis’ September visit to Philadelphia will be led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, KYW reports.

Bob Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia organization, says the federal government has declared the visit by Pope Francis and activities leading up to his arrival a “national security special event.”

“Multiple governmental agencies are extremely involved in the process,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “every step of the process. They’re working closely. There’s multiple committees set up where all the various agencies from the different governmental entities are involved in.”

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