Philadelphia preparing for Pope Francis

About 50,000 expected to greet pontiff at Independence Mall

PHILADELPHIA (WWLP) – The stage is being set and audio being tested at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, where Pope Francis will visit on Saturday. The pontiff will continue his U.S. tour with a speech in front of the building where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed and adopted, to a group of about 50,000 people.

The pope is expected to speak about immigration and religious freedom in the Philadelphia speech. He will speak at the same podium that Abraham Lincoln used when delivering the Gettysburg Address.

Ahead of this visit, 22News spoke with Joseph Corso, who is from Great Barrington, but lives in Philly now. He has tickets to the Independence Mall event, and is excited to see the Holy Father in person.

“Its been an incredible opportunity to see him make his first US visit here. Watching him on television, landing in D.C., seeing him go to New York City, and all of us here in Philadelphia are just really excited about him making this his final stop,” Corso said.

Earlier in the day Saturday, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. That Mass is exclusively for local religious and those with personal invitations.

There is also a stage set in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Festival of Families, part of the World Meeting of Families is being held there Saturday evening. Pope Francis will parade down Ben Franklin Parkway, and singer Aretha Franklin will perform prior to an outdoor Mass the pope will celebrate.

22News reporter Laura Hutchinson is in Philadelphia ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to that city. She will have updates here on and on the air through Sunday. Meanwhile, 22News reporter Juli McDonald is in New York, where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden Friday night.

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