It appears as if Pope Francis will have to lace up his papal sneakers in order to stay on track during his fast-paced visit to Philadelphia at the end of September.
The Vatican has officially released the schedule of Pope Francis when he visits the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection as part of the World Meeting of Families at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Holy Father is due to arrive in Philadelphia on the morning of September 26th when his plane touches down at Atlantic Aviation at Philadelphia International Airport. A private reception with city and state officials is scheduled before Francis is taken to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary on City Avenue where he is scheduled to greet men studying for the priesthood. Later in the day, Pope Francis is set to deliver an address on religious liberty and immigration outside Independence Hall in Old City overlooking Independence Mall. That evening he is scheduled to attend the Festival of Families on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
No rest for the weary as Sunday morning, September 27th, dawns with Pope Francis scheduled to address Cardinals and Bishops attending the World Meeting of Families before visiting with prisoners and select families at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia.
Pope Francis will wrap up his whirlwind visit to the City of Brotherly Love with a Papal Mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway, scheduled for four o’clock in the afternoon. City organizers are anticipating more than one-million people will pack the Parkway for that event. After a meeting with organizers and supporters of the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit, Pope Francis will be whisked away to Philadelphia International Airport for his departure.
Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a statement saying that the pontiff’s schedule recognizes Philadelphia’s rich history and diversity as the birthplace of religious freedom and “this itinerary recognizes the importance of those qualities and the Pope’s desire to witness them firsthand.”
Given the tight security surrounding the visit, exact routes the Papal motorcade will take have not been released. There is no word if Pope Francis will travel up Broad Street into Center City on his way to the Cathedral for Mass on Saturday which would afford thousands of residents the chance to see the pontiff, albeit a short glimpse of the pope. When Pope John Paul II came to Philadelphia in 1979 his motorcade traveled up Broad Street to throngs of faithful that had lined up for a chance to see him.
Pope Francis will arrive in the United States at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C. in the afternoon on September 22nd, after a visit to Cuba. While in the nation’s capitol, he will meet with President Obama and speak a joint session of Congress. The pope will also visit New York to address the United Nations General Assembly and attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and celebrate a Mass at Madison Square Garden.