Mayor, Governor Headed to Vatican to Meet Pope

Preparations beginning for worldwide meeting of Catholics in Philadelphia in 2015.

The Inquirer reports Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett will join Archbishop Chaput in visiting the Vatican later this month, to begin preparations for the World Meeting of Families, a gathering of hundreds of thousands of Catholics that will next be held in Philly in 2015. Pope Francis is expected to attend that event.

Chaput is expected to say at a morning news conference that their audience with the pontiff will take place March 26 at the Vatican. Corbett and Nutter, honorary co-chairs of the event, are expected to join him for the announcement, the archdiocese said.

Begun in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, and held every three years in a different city, the World Meeting of Families could draw hundreds of thousands of people to Philadelphia in September 2015 – and more if the pope attends.

Scheduled for September 22 to 27, the World Meeting will feature lectures and programs at venues across the Philadelphia area, with separate programming pitched to children and adults.

The pope traditionally does visit the event, it should be noted. In January, Philly Mag offered a list 10 places Pope Francis should visit when he comes to town. We’ve also suggested that his visit could do a tremendous amount to heal a wounded local church: “Philadelphia has been one of the of the church’s outposts most hurt by revelations of priestly child abuse — along with Boston and Ireland. Pope Francis has already made a name for himself as a reformer, capable of reaching out to constituencies in and out of the church that felt alienated from previous regimes at the Vatican. A visit here—and a high-profile attempt at amends, a public penance of sorts — might go a long way to healing the deep hurt that remains.” We’re a step closer to finding out if that happens.

The archdiocese will webcast Chaput’s announcement at 10:45 a.m. today.