Pope’s Philadelphia Schedule Unveiled

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When the pope visits Independence Mall, maybe he can drop in on the nearby beer garden?

If you want to meet Pope Francis when he visits Philadelphia, your best bet may be to get arrested.

Pope Francis will make a visit to Northeast Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility during his visit to the city for the World Meeting of Families this September, officials revealed this morning. The Vatican has released the pope’s itinerary for his two days in Philadelphia on September 26th and 27th.

The pope’s itinerary is in Italian, so we took the liberty of doing a rough translation of it (into English, even!) for you here. Read more »

Gay Activists: We’ll Protest Pope’s Visit If We Want

One day before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said that gay people can attend Pope Francis’ visit to the city this fall — but only if they don’t use it to protest the Catholic church.

The response from gay activists in Philadelphia? Try to stop us.

Take it from “someone who’s been protesting since 1969,” said Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. “If someone wants to protest, they will find a way.”

Read more »

In Rome, Pope and Mayor Nutter Share a Moment

The Philadelphia delegation to the Vatican this week didn’t really expect to get face time with Pope Francis, even though he’ll be visiting the city in September.

They got a moment — but apparently just a moment, as the pope visited the crowds outside the Vatican today.

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Nutter Heads Back to Vatican

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Mayor Nutter meets Pope Francis during an earlier visit to the Vatican.

 

Mayor Nutter is leading a trip to the Vatican this week as officials on both sides continue their planning for Pope Francis‘s September visit to Philadelphia.
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Pope Calls Earth “An Immense Pile of Filth”

Pope Francis, everyone’s favorite cool pope, released an encyclical today, Laudato si. The encyclical is in English, fortunately, and it’s all about the environment and how rich people are greedy.

Two years ago, I wrote about how strange it was the Catholic Church actually elected a Jesuit as pope. What would the papacy of a priest from “the smart-aleck wise-asses of the priesthood” be like? I must admit, Pope Francis has exceeded all expectations.

Here’s how Pope Francis’ encyclical (an encyclical is basically a letter about how to be a good Catholic) begins:

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”

Uhhh… okay, it gets better from there. The next line is, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” This pope is a badass environmentalist! Not even Captain Planet would use language that strong. Read more »

The Pope’s Really Big Visit

What if Pope Francis visited and everybody came?

You’ve heard on Monday how the pope’s visit is expected to bring Philadelphia to a standstill — overwhelming SEPTA, clogging roads, and forcing everybody in town to walk miles just to get anywhere. Well, those projections are based on the notion that Philadelphia will get a mere 1 to 2 million visitors to see the pontiff.

PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa says we might want to prepare for even more visitors. Read more »

SEPTA and the Pope’s Visit: Everything You Need to Know

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Thinking of sticking around town when Pope Francis comes to call on Sept. 26th and 27th, at the end of the World Meeting of Families?

If you’re not set on seeing His Holiness, might I recommend that you plan a visit somewhere else and rent out your place to one of the 1.5 million or so visitors who will also descend on the city that weekend. Leave your guests these pieces of advice, though — and follow them yourself if you are sticking around town: Read more »

Some 5,000 Buses Expected to Hit Philly for Pope’s Visit

Parking and traffic in Philadelphia is normally a challenge; expect it to get a lot more complicated September 22nd when the World Meeting of Families will commence at the Convention Center and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The convention will be capped by Pope Francis‘ expected visit on September 27th, which is expected to draw as many as 2 million people to the city, and a whole fleet of buses.

And how will all those pilgrims get here? Some 4,000 to 5,000 buses are expected to roll into Center City that week, with the heaviest volume expected for the Papal visit. Read more »

Ahead of Pope Francis’ Visit, a Musical Schism in the Philadelphia Archdiocese

Choir photo | Shutterstock.com. Archbishop Charles Chaput | Jeff Fusco

Left: Choir | Shutterstock.com. Right: Archbishop Charles Chaput | Jeff Fusco

Deep in a list of “liturgical music happenings” late last month was this curious announcement: John Romeri, music director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was leaving just a few months before Pope Francis’ visit. Even more curious was his reasoning: He says he’d clashed with Archbishop Charles Chaput.

“This Holy Week, while [including] some of the most beautiful liturgies I have ever conducted, was not well received by the archbishop,” Romeri wrote. “This is the continuation of several years of discontent on his part with the Liturgical Music at the Cathedral and at Archdiocesan liturgies. There are simply irreconcilable differences in our understanding of the role of music in the Liturgy and the role of the choir.” Romeri’s departure is effective June 30th; he’ll stay on at the Cathedral Basilica as music director and organist until a replacement is found.

Local Catholic insiders say the dispute has indeed been long-simmering, starting not long after Chaput was appointed head of the archdiocese in July 2011. Romeri spent 18 years as music director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis before leaving for the Philadelphia job in 2010. Romeri was vice chair of the liturgical music committee for the World Meeting of Families in September, which will be punctuated by a visit from the pope on September 26th and 27th.

Karen Banos, a violinist who has been playing for Romeri since he arrived in Philadelphia, says the dispute was particularly evident the week leading up to Easter. “When we had Easter services for Holy Week, after literally every service Chaput was saying that [Romeri] should be fired,” Banos says. “After the chrism mass [on Holy Thursday], Chaput said, ‘You might not be coming back for Easter.’”

Read more »

The Pope Francis Plush Toy is Here

Sure to be a hot gift this Christmas.

Sure to be a hot gift this Christmas.

What’s a gathering of 1.5 million people if you can’t sell a little bit of merch?

The World Meeting of Families has just announced that Philadelphia-based Aramark will serve as the official retail vendor of event merchandise — including a lovable Pope Francis plush doll which has a strong resemblance to the real thing. It’ll cost you $20. Read more »

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