Fundraising On Schedule for Pope’s Visit

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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 | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

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.”

Read more »

Pope Gets Official Milkshake Flavor in Sham of a Vote

Official milkshake | Matt Rourke, AP. Pope Francis, Shutterstock.com

Official milkshake | Matt Rourke, AP. Pope Francis, Shutterstock.com

Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia is just under 200 days away, and the important decisions are starting to be made: The official milkshake of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia has been chosen. Alleluia!

The milkshake bringing all the altar boys to the yard is a combination of vanilla ice cream and shortbread butter cookies and is named #PopeinPhilly. The $3.90 shake will be available at Philly’s Potbelly locations from April 1st to to September 30th. Fifty cents of each sale will go to the World Meeting of Families.

The #PopeinPhilly shake was chosen yesterday by students from St. Peter the Apostle School at an event at the Potbelly in Center City. It defeated a crumbled Oreo shake (called World Meeting Mashup) and a banana, chocolate and peanut butter shake (PHL Liberty Bell) for the win. Or did it? Read on and you’ll see this vote was no vote at all! Read more »

Madonna’s Visit, Two Days Before the Pope’s Arrival, Is No Mistake

Via Shutterstock.

Shutterstock.com

Madonna has been no stranger to speaking her mind. In fact, one could argue that her career and notoriety is equal parts music and advocacy. That’s why it is no coincidence that the Material Girl is bringing her Rebel Heart Tour to Philly right smack in the middle of the World Meeting of Families this September, and just two days before the Pope shows up to town. Read more »

How to Rent Out Your Place During the Pope’s Philadelphia Visit

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Will you look to rent out a spare room or house for the Pope’s Visit | Photo: Rex Features, AP

Papal-seeking pilgrims are soon going to find themselves in a mad scramble for accommodations during the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (September 21st through 27th), especially around the days when the Pope is actually in town (the 25th through 27th). Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput got on the horn recently to let people know that Philly has “only” 11,000 hotel rooms and “barely 65,000 within a 60-mile radius.” The “no room at the inn” jokes write themselves, as hotels have either filled up or blacked out the dates for large group commitments. With crowds estimated over the 1 million mark for 2015’s other Holy Week, that just ain’t gonna cut it. Read more »

Pope Visit Could Challenge Philly Phone System

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When Pope Francis comes to town in September, will Philadelphians still be able to make and receive calls on their cell phones?

It’s not a crazy question: As many as 2 million pilgrims will flood the city to see the pope celebrate mass on the parkway. Philly’s telecommunication system isn’t prepared to handle quite that additional load — yet.

KYW reports on preparations by AT&T and Verizon:
Read more »

City House of the Week: Bella Vista Rowhome That’s Perfect for the Pope’s Visit

Images by TREND via Coldwell Banker Preferred - Old City

Images by TREND via Coldwell Banker Preferred – Old City

$418 million – that’s the estimated number of dollars that the Pope’s little visit is supposed to bring into the regional economy. We’ll let that simmer for a second and then introduce you to our newest City House of the Week.

Ready? Cool. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to how you could get a chunk, albeit small, of that $418 million in just a minute. Read more »

Pope’s Visit: Bigger Than The Super Bowl

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Talk about a blessing.

CBS News reports that Pope Francis’s September visit to Philadelphia is expected to generate up to $418 million in economic benefits for the region — more than would be gained by hosting the Super Bowl.

The calculation was done by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“I think it’s safe to say that the economic impact for the City and region will be very significant,” Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, said in an email to CBS News. “We don’t have any detailed data that we’re prepared to share at this time. As you can imagine, there are a host of variables to consider.”
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Pope Francis Holds Private Audience With Transgender Man

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This weekend at the Vatican, Pope Francis met with a Spanish transgender man, Diego Neria Lejárraga, after he wrote a letter to the Pope complaining that his church discriminated against him following his gender-reassignment surgery. The Washington Blade says Lejárraga complained about the rejection he felt from his fellow congregants, who even went so far as to abuse him with verbal attacks, calling him names like “the devil’s daughter.”

“After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me,” Neria told a newspaper publisher in Spain.

Human rights groups are applauding the Pope’s move, calling it a historic, forward-thinking move for the papacy. Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholics group Dignity USA told the Blade that the meeting is a “very significant event.”

“For the Pope to meet with a transgender man about to be married, and for that meeting to result in this man feeling more hopeful about his place in the Church, shows a concern for those at the very margins of our church,” she said. “I hope the Pope listened carefully to this man’s experience, and will speak about what he heard.”

Pope’s Philadelphia Schedule Unveiled

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Catholic officials over the weekend released details of Pope Francis’ September trip to the United States — the centerpiece of which will be his multi-day visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

Catholic News Agency reports the details were revealed by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, a member of the organizing meeting for the trip.

Read more »

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