National News

Archbishop Says Pope Is Coming to US

by Nancy Wiechec

FARGO, N.D. (CNS) – Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Pope Francis has accepted his invitation to attend the World Meeting of Families in the U.S. next year, even though the Philadelphia Archdiocese still has not received official confirmation from the Vatican.

Archbishop Chaput made the announcement July 24 before giving his homily during the opening Mass of the Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo.

“Pope Francis has told me that he is coming,” said the archbishop as he invited his fellow Native Americans to the 2015 celebration being held in Philadelphia Sept. 22-27.

“The pope will be with us the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that week,” he said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said July 25 Pope Francis has expressed “his willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families” in Philadelphia, and has received invitations to visit other cities, which he is considering. Those invitations include New York, the U.N. and Washington, D.C.

“There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican or the Holy See of Pope Francis’ attendance at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event.”

“We are further heartened and excited” by Father Lombardi’s comments, it added. “While Archbishop Chaput’s comments do not serve as official confirmation, they do serve to bolster our sincere hope that Philadelphia will welcome Pope Francis next September.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it would be an “extraordinary moment for our city and an extraordinary honor” if Pope Francis also visited the Big Apple.

De Blasio went to the Vatican and met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, “to relate how important it would be for the people of New York City to have the pope visit,” the mayor said.

In Rome, de Blasio held a news conference following his visit with Cardinal Parolin. U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Ken Hackett also joined de Blasio at the news conference.

“The meeting was very positive,” de Blasio told reporters. “The secretary of state [is] an extraordinary man.”

Share this article with a friend.