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July 20, 2014 Issue

Pope Francis accepts a replica of the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput looks on during the pope's general audience in St. Peter's Square March 26.

CNS/Paul Haring

Featured Article


Confirms Pope Francis to visit Philadelphia in September 2015

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.

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 as well, which he is considering. Those invitations include New York, the United Nations and Washington.

Some Mexican media have cited government officials saying a September trip to North America also could include stops in Mexico, but Father Lombardi said that at this moment "nothing operational has begun relative to a plan or program for a visit to the United States or Mexico. Keep in mind, there is still more than a year to go before the meeting in Philadelphia."

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