PHILADELPHIA, PA (WWLP) — Pope Francis will round out his trip to the U.S. Saturday with a final stop in Philadelphia.
At 9:30 Saturday morning Pope Francis is scheduled to land in the city of brotherly love. Crews of people spent a lot of time this week putting the finishing touches on this city so it’s ready for his arrival.
The stage is set and security is in place. Hundreds of thousands of people are traveling into Philly this weekend excited to just be in the presence of the Holy Father.
Javier Delossantos told 22News “A lot of excitement but it looks like it’s going to be chaos out here even getting close to the pope is going to be impossible from what I see right now “.
The Pontiff is will start his tour in the City of Brotherly Love by celebrating mass at the mother church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He’s also expected to speak to a crowd of about 50,000 at Independence Mall before a papal parade through the city where crowds will get to see him.
Joseph Corso told 22News, “The city is just alive with the excitement”.
His trip will conclude Sunday when he celebrates Mass from the Philadelphia art museum, to a crowd of nearly a million people.
Other plans he has on his visit to Philly are to meet with select inmates and their families at a correctional facility here. Good behavior in prision was considered when prisioners were selected.
The Ben Franklin Parkway can hold up to 2 million people. That is where the largest public events for the World Meeting of Families are happening Saturday and Sunday including an outdoor mass in front of the Philadelphia Museum of art.
Organizers aren’t expecting two million, but they said hundreds of thousands, possibly up to a million people will be here.
Getting around in this area of the city is nearly impossible with the heightened security and anticipation surrounding todays events but still people are traveling in from all over.
22News talked to a man from Easthampton who said being in His presence is worth the walking and the crowds.
He told 22News, “I’m hoping it will be an inspiring experience for myself personally but hopefully it will bring something else I can bring back for someone else. Often times you anticipate whats going to happen but you’re just blocking what the spirit is really doing. So I have no expectations other to go there and hopefully take back for myself and whoever”.
The Pontiff is expected to speak at this event today about immigration and religious freedoms.
Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is also traveling down here this morning. 22News anchor Laura Hutchinson is meeting him Saturday afternoon to find out what he’s heard so far that he thinks could resonate the most with parishioners from back home.
The whole reason Pope Francis made the trip to America was for the World Meeting of Families that’s been going on all week long in Philadelphia and His holiness coming in today is the main attraction for the people attending.
Pope Francis will be speaking at 4:45 Saturday at Independence Mall. He’s expected to address a crowd of about 50,000 people, and talk about religious freedoms and immigration. Earlier Saturday morning, across the city, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway he’ll celebrate mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Holyoke’s Chris Clark is traveling down from our area and said she hopes this is a bonding experience for all of them who will be in His presence.
He told 22News, “I know that we’re hoping to bond as a small group of pilgrims in a special way and I hope that we’ll be more articulate in speaking about the catholic church and his hopes for and support for the people of the world.”
For a behind-the-scenes look with 22News reporter Laura Hutchinson in Philly at Independence Mall, click here.