- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Philly readies for unconfirmed pope visit in 2015
Question of the Day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Plans for a major Catholic gathering in Philadelphia next year are proceeding with the assumption Pope Francis will attend, though that hasn’t been officially confirmed, church officials said Saturday.
The eighth World Meeting of Families, set for Sept. 22 through Sept. 27 in 2015, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors.
“We have been planning from the beginning … that the pope would come,” Philadelphia Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin said. “We are very, very hopeful the Holy Father will be there.”
Pope Benedict XVI announced in 2012 that Philadelphia would host the triennial event. At the time, he said he looked forward to meeting the region’s Catholics. He attended previous family convocations in Milan and Valencia, Spain, though he skipped one in Mexico.
Benedict has since retired, and Francis’ schedule remains unclear. President Barack Obama is expected to meet with the pope during a trip to the Vatican in March.
Traditionally, papal trips abroad are first confirmed a few months before the journey by the local diocese hosting the visit. The Vatican releases details of such a pilgrimage only a few weeks before departure.
Church officials in Philadelphia have established a separate operational and fundraising organization to plan the international meeting. The five-county archdiocese has about 1.5 million Catholics.
But Gavin said the event, which focuses on strengthening family bonds, “is not just for Catholics, it’s really a gift for the whole region.” The pope’s presence would “electrify” the gathering, he said.
Benedict made the last papal visit to the U.S. in 2008, a six-day pilgrimage that saw him visit Washington and New York
The most recent visit to Philadelphia by a pontiff was in 1979, when Pope John Paul II drew gigantic crowds as part of his first papal tour of the country.
Follow Kathy Matheson at www.twitter.com/kmatheson
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Inside the Beltway: Immigration rage festers on all sides
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Manchester United delights FedEx Field crowd with shootout win over Inter Milan
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world