NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Pope Francis confirmed Monday that he will travel to Philadelphia next September, and this visit is significant because this is his first visit to the U.S. as Pope. Pope Francis will travel to Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families, which is a conference every 3 years to celebrate the importance of families.
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The mayor, governor, and Archbishop of Philadelphia met at the Vatican in March to personally invite Pope Francis to their city, and just last week, more than 10,000 Philadelphia Catholic school children sent letters encouraging Francis to come visit.
The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia will go on from September 22 to 27, and the event is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families.
22News spoke with Father John Connors from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Northampton about how the Pope’s style of reaching out to non-Catholics will make this event successful.
“Understand that it’s important to be welcoming and to reach out to them, that they are part of the family as well. And I think in that sense he has brought a new focus, or what you might say is a new energy,” said Father Connors.
The Pope is also expected to visit New York and Washington, but Vatican officials have not confirmed when he will make those visits during his trip. The pope’s itinerary will not be finalized until next spring or summer.