Pope Week: He Arrives!

After months of preparation, Pope Francis finally comes to Philadelphia.

Pope Francis leads an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Pope Francis leads an evening prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Good morning. After months of preparation, Pope Francis is finally arriving in Philadelphia. Let’s have a great weekend, Philly!

Today’s official papal schedule:
8:40 a.m. Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
4:45 p.m. Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m. Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Three things to know about today’s visit:

“The third and final leg of the pontiff’s first visit to this country will feature the week’s biggest events.” Thus sayeth the New York Times. “Organizers expect perhaps one million people each at a celebration on Saturday evening at a site along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and at a Mass there on Sunday afternoon. Francis will most likely speak about the church’s teachings on the value of family life.”

Reuters says “religious freedom” should be a big theme of his visit here: “The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff, due to fly from New York and arrive in Philadelphia around 9:30 a.m. EDT, is set to go to the site of Independence Hall, the 18th century red-brick building where the nation’s two bedrock documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, were adopted.

“Francis will hold a rally there with Hispanic and other immigrants on the theme of religious freedom. The event combines two issues about which Francis is most concerned: the plight of immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and the freedom to practice religion.”

Gizmodo: “Philly’s Preparations for Pope Francis are Like a Dry Run for the Apocalypse”:
The website says “Pope Francis’s visit to Philly looks like practice for the real Pandemic,” noting that the schools, courts, and City Hall have been shut down for the duration:

Interestingly, these are exactly the same sort of measures we might expect a city to take in the event of a mass contagion. Encourage people to stay home and avoid contact with one another. Make sure sanitation systems are a-go to limit the spread of disease.

Except, you know, for the part where millions of germ-ridden humans are going to be jam-packed into the city’s downtown this weekend. That’s kinda going to work against us.

Luckily, the pope is not a weapon of mass destruction.

• As always, check out our Complete Pope in Philadelphia Survival Guide.