Here’s What Philadelphia Will Look Like During the Pope’s Visit

Since you'll never get close enough to see it firsthand.

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In case you’re not one of the fortunate few who will get a chance to see Pope Francis up close when he visits Philadelphia the last weekend in September, we now have a better picture of what the city will look like during his time here. Literally.

ESM Productions, the Center City company that’s handling the production end of the pope’s visit, has released renderings of what the various setups will look like for his speech at Independence Mall, as well as for the Papal Mass and the Mark Wahlberg-hosted papal concert, both on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. And the World Meeting of Families has also released images of the papal banners going up all over the city to greet the pontiff and his throngs.

Here is what the stage will look like for the Festival of Families with Pope Francis, scheduled for Saturday, September 26th in front of the Art Museum. This is the event hosted by Mark Wahlberg, with appearances by Aretha Franklin and comedian Jim Gaffigan.

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By Sunday afternoon, that same stage will be transformed for the giant Papal Mass, scheduled for 4 p.m. that day. The mass will be the pope’s last major event before he heads to Philadelphia International Airport for his flight back to Rome.

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Far less dramatic is the setup for the pope’s earlier visit to Independence Mall, where he will speak to an expected crowd of 50,000 from the same podium that Abraham Lincoln stood at when he gave the Gettysburg Address. Word on the street is that Pope Francis will arrive in the Popemobile.

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Then there are the papal banners being hung all over the city. Officials say that there are more than 550 banners, which they’re calling the “largest single installation of banners since the 2000 Republican National Convention,” which makes us think they really could have gone for more.

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