Vatican Confirms: Pope Will Visit Philly
The Vatican made it official today: Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families next year. The announcement had been long expected — even mentioned by Pope Francis himself — but today’s announcement puts the visit firmly on the schedule.
“We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput, the leader of Philadelphia’s Archdiocese.
The Pope made the announcement in Rome during his opening remarks at the Humanum Colloquium. The Humanum Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars, including Chaput, of various religions around the world focused on marriage and family life.
While details of the visit have yet to be finalized, the pope’s presence would require coordination among local, state and federal security. Philadelphia officials expect the pope to be on hand for the forum’s closing events.
Officials have said that the meeting, which focuses on strengthening family bonds, could attract more than 1 million people.
Pope Francis did not confirm the details of his visit, but he is expected to preside over a Holy Mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Hundreds of thousands of people could attend.
The meeting’s theme is: “Love is our mission: The family fully alive.”
In remarks offered today in Rome, Pope Francis formally announced his intention to attend the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, set to be held September 22-27, 2015. This visit will mark his first to the United States as pope. He will be only the fourth reigning Pontiff to visit our nation in its history.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and a delegation of World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 organizers were present for the announcement, which the Holy Father made at the opening of the Humanum Colloquium. Also present were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop Jean Lafitte, and Monsignor Carlos Simon Vaszquez of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is the co-sponsor of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput said, “I am overjoyed by Pope Francis’ announcement that he will join with us for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year. A hallmark of his papacy has been a keen focus on the many challenges that families face today globally. His charisma, presence and voice will electrify the gathering.”
“As I’ve said many times before, I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways. We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts.”
Detailed plans for Pope Francis’ visit have not yet been finalized and are expected to be released in spring or summer of 2015. However, it is expected that the Holy Father will visit Philadelphia September 25 – 27, 2015 to participate in the closing events of the Eighth World Meeting of Families. These events include the Festival of Families, an intercultural celebration of family life around the world, which would be held on Saturday, September 26, and a Papal Mass to be held on Sunday, September 27. Both of these events will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the heart of Philadelphia and will be open to the public.
The World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. Being held in the United States for the first time ever, the official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.”
For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and Pope Francis’ accompanying visit to Philadelphia, please visit www.worldmeeting2015.org.