Feds to Handle Security for Pope Visit

Trip to Philadelphia designated a “national security special event.”

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.”

The announcement came Wednesday as part of a broader unveiling of committees helping the Archdiocese of Philadelphia prepare for the World Meeting of Families that will feature the pope’s visit. CatholicPhilly says as many as 15,000 people are expected to register for official events of the world meeting; 2 million are expected for papal events. Committees on hospitality, health, and more are planning for the deluge of people:

To manage such big crowds, planners intend the committees to begin working on multiple issues at this point six months ahead of the September events.

Archbishop Charles Chaput said in the statement that he was grateful to the people serving on the committees. “I’m confident that we will create a beautiful and memorable week for our families here in the Philadelphia region — and for families from around the world,” he said.

The archbishop praised “the willingness of business, civic and cultural leaders to become engaged. Whether Catholic or of another faith tradition, they have responded equally with open hearts, great enthusiasm and strong commitment,” he said.

The World Meeting of Families is September 22-25. The papal visit is Sept. 26-27