Philly Residents Asked to Open Homes During Papal Visit

Archbishop Chaput asks residents to host visitors who can't get a hotel room.

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

When Pope Francis visits Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families, a million or more people are expected to crowd the city for a glimpse of him. Not everybody’s going to be able to find a hotel room.

So Archbishop Charles Chaput is now asking Philadelphians to open their homes to visitors during the meeting, making the appeal in his weekly column at Catholic Philly.

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has been a wonderful partner from the beginning of the WMOF planning as we worked to secure hotel rooms. The trouble is, only 11,000 hotel rooms exist in Philadelphia and barely 65,000 within a 60-mile radius. That’s why we urgently need to have alternative housing available for the many people coming here from so many different countries.

I’m asking Catholics and other generous people across the archdiocese to please consider opening your homes to offer lodging to visitors via the “Host a Family Program.” Anyone with a furnished guest bedroom, apartment or home (including vacation homes) within 120 miles of Center City Philadelphia is encouraged to take part. It’s easy to sign up; people simply need to visit the World Meeting website at for guidance through the process.

Host families can even charge for the use of a room — though, Chaput says, “to encourage as many pilgrims to make the journey as possible, it’s recommended that the fees be as reasonable as possible.”

So get ready, Philly. The pope’s visit will be a huge event — and temporarily turn the city into the World Capital of Bed & Breakfasts.