World Meeting of Families could draw pope to Philly
PHILADELPHIA — Plans for a major Catholic gathering in Philadelphia next year are proceeding with the assumption Pope Francis will attend, though that hasn't been officially confirmed, church officials said Saturday.
The eighth World Meeting of Families, set for Sept. 22 through Sept. 27 in 2015, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors.
“We have been planning from the beginning ... that the pope would come,” Philadelphia Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin said. “We are very, very hopeful the Holy Father will be there.”
Pope Benedict XVI announced in 2012 that Philadelphia would host the triennial event. At the time, he said he looked forward to meeting the region's Catholics. He attended previous family convocations in Milan and Valencia, Spain, though he skipped one in Mexico.
Benedict has since retired, and Francis' schedule remains unclear. President Obama is expected to meet with the pope during a trip to the Vatican in March. Traditionally, papal trips abroad are first confirmed a few months before the journey by the local diocese hosting the visit. The Vatican releases details of such a pilgrimage only a few weeks before departure.
Church officials in Philadelphia have established a separate operational and fundraising organization to plan the international meeting. The five-county archdiocese has about 1.5 million Catholics.
But Gavin said the event, which focuses on strengthening family bonds, “is not just for Catholics, it's really a gift for the whole region.” The pope's presence would “electrify” the gathering, he said.
Benedict made the last papal visit to the United States in 2008, a six-day pilgrimage that saw him visit Washington and New York. The most recent visit to Philadelphia by a pontiff was in 1979, when Pope John Paul II drew gigantic crowds as part of his first papal tour of the country.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park want to sell off parts of its 300-acre property
- Fallout from child protection law felt in Pa. churches, libraries, fields
- Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf police chief decision coming ‘soon’
- Big-game hunting means navigating Third World country political systems
- Western Pa. youths chosen for state police camp
- Teen could spend 10 years in prison for role in injuring Ohio teacher
- Indicted Pennsylvania lawmaker Fattah vows to run for re-election
- 2001 same-sex union recognized despite partner’s death