Pope Week: Tuesday

Gay teacher invited to White House; Secret Service prepares; the cost to City Hall.

Photos via Wikimedia Commons

Photos via Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia is one day nearer. He spent Monday continuing to visit Cuba; today he arrives in Washington D.C.

Three things to know today about the pope’s visit:

• The gay teacher fired from Waldron Mercy School has been invited to the White House ceremony welcoming the pope. “The 50-year-old Winters says she lost her job this year at Waldron Mercy Academy in Montgomery County over her 2007 same-sex marriage,” AP reports. “Winters hopes to get a chance to speak to the pope. She would ask him to extend his message of inclusion to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics.”

She said she was invited to the ceremony by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group.

• The city expects to spend $12 million on the pope’s visit, but will be reimbursed by the World Meeting of Families. The costs include nearly $5 million in police expenses and nearly $4 million in fire department expenses, according to the Inquirer. Under the terms of the agreement, the city will provide an invoice by Nov. 1, and expect payment by Nov. 30.

• The Secret Service is mounting one of its biggest-ever security operations for this visit. “The Secret Service will not discuss how many agents and police officers will take part in protecting Francis during the trip, which will include stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. But with crowds expected to number in the hundreds of thousands, federal officials say it will be among the largest mobilizations of security officers in American history,” the New York Times reports. 

A challenge to those efforts? This pope is touchy-feely: “During Mr. Clancy’s visit and in other discussions between the Secret Service and the Vatican, the pope’s aides insisted that Francis wanted to be able to stop his motorcade at any point to pop out and mingle with people on the street. Just as he has tried to make the Roman Catholic Church more open and welcoming, Francis has made it a hallmark of his tenure to shed formalities and reach out to surprised strangers, on the phone and in person.”

 Bonus thing to know: Philly schools, already due to be closed Wednesday through Friday, will also take next Monday off.

Be sure to check out our Complete Pope in Philly Survival Guide.