Travelin’ Light In the Eye of a Storm: Francis Is Comin’ to America!

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2014 / 01:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Updated November 17, 2014 at 6:25a.m. MST. Adds comments from Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ at paragraphs 9-10.

Pope Francis on Monday officially announced that he will visit the U.S. in September 2015, including a visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and New York City.

“I wish to confirm, if God wills it, that in September of 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families.” he announced at Vatican City’s Synod Hall Nov. 17 during his remarks at an international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman.

The Philadelphia World Meeting of Families will take place from Sept. 22-27. Even before the Pope’s announcement, the meeting was expected to draw tens of thousands of people. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia had told a gathering of Catholic bishops last week that a papal visit would likely result in crowds of about 1 million.

A global Catholic event, the world meeting seeks to support and strengthen families. St. John Paul II founded the event in 1994, and it takes place every three years.

Archbishop Chaput had previously hinted that Pope Francis would attend the 2015 meeting, although he cautioned that the visit had not been officially confirmed. In March 2014, a Pennsylvania delegation including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter visited the Vatican to help encourage the Pope to visit the U.S.

On Thursday, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the head of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, told the Associated Press “if he comes to Philadelphia, he will come to New York.”

The 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding would be “the ideal time” for a papal visit, the archbishop said Nov. 13. Next year also marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1965 visit to the U.N., the first such visit from a Pope.

In August, on his return flight from South Korea, Pope Francis said he wanted to visit the U.S. in 2015 for the Philadelphia gathering. He also noted that he had received invitations from President Barack Obama, Congress and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, as well as from Mexico.

However, despite the anticipation of the Pope’s possible visit to New York and Washington while in the U.S., Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. told journalists shorly after the announcement that as of now nothing else is confirmed.

The Pope, he explained, “didn’t say anything about any other steps or moments in his trip to America. He guaranteed his presence to the organizers of the World Day for Families, but as for the rest, I have no concrete information.”

Pope Francis has visited the Holy Land and Albania as well as South Korea. He will visit France and Turkey in November, and Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January 2015. He will return to France for a longer visit in 2015.

In June, the Pope accepted an invitation to visit Mexico, though a date for the visit was not announced.

The World Meeting of Families will take place shortly before the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, which will discuss the mission of the family in the Church and in the world.

At the last World Meeting of Families in Milan, Italy in 2012, more than 1 million people representing 153 nations attended a papal Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

The 2015 meeting’s theme is “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” The meeting will include many speakers and breakout sessions. Keynote speakers include Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines, Cardinal Robert Sarah, professor Helen Alvare, and Dr. Juan Francisco de la Guardia Brin and Gabriela N. de la Guardia.

The Philadelphia meeting will mark the first time that the event will be held in the United States.

Registration for the 2015 World Meeting of Families began on Nov. 10.

The World Meeting of Families website is It is on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Get AQ Email Updates

8 comments on “Travelin’ Light In the Eye of a Storm: Francis Is Comin’ to America!

  1. I’m seriously thinking of going to NY next year and protesting with a sign that says
    “Stop persecuting traditionalists!”
    If you can suggest something more effective to say please let me know.

  2. Let us hope that if, indeed, he makes it to our shores and the City of “Brotherly Love” that Archbishop Chaput exercises a positive influence on him but I’m not holding my breath. Chaput is known as a conservative but not as a traditionalist. (I know this to be true from my correspondence with him when he was Archbishop of Denver.) Perhaps Cardinal Stafford can exercise some influence on him before he makes the trip. None of us want to see the Vicar of Christ held up to public ridicule nor do we enjoy criticizing him ourselves but, as the saying goes, “it is what it is.” O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

    • Based on the following I guess we can forget any influence Chaput may have on Francis:

      From Rome, November 17, 2014 ( | 753 hits

      Here is a statement by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia regarding today’s announcement that Pope Francis will be attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September.

      * * *

      Dear Friends,

      Today is one of great joy for our Archdiocese, our City, our Commonwealth and our country! It was a privilege to be in the presence of our Holy Father this morning in Rome when he announced to the world that he will be with us in Philadelphia next year for the World Meeting of Families.

      This moment is an historic and exhilarating one for all of us to share. It is the answer to the countless prayers of so many people who have asked God to guide Pope Francis to Philadelphia, the culmination of many months of hopeful anticipation, and the fulfillment of my own confidence that the Holy Father would grace us with his presence next year. It will mark his first ever visit to the United States of America as pope and he will be only the fourth pope to visit our nation. Words cannot sufficiently express how overjoyed I am by this most welcome news and I know so many of you share that feeling. These are the kinds of emotions that have one source—the true love of Jesus Christ filling our hearts.

      A hallmark of Pope Francis’ ministry has been a genuine love for all people of good will and he has maintained a keen focus on the many diverse challenges that families face globally. I’ve loved and admired him since we first met at the Synod for the Americas in 1997. I know that the Holy Father’s charisma, presence and voice will electrify our gathering. Regardless of confessional differences, billions around the world have been drawn to this pope. Our gathering in Philadelphia is open to all who have a generous heart. It has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the spirit of Catholic life in our region, but of our entire community. It will be a moment unlike any other.

      As I’ve said many times before, Pope Francis’ presence will bring all of us – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – together in tremendously unifying and healing ways. We now eagerly anticipate Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September. We will be ready and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts! Let us all raise our voices in thanksgiving to almighty God for the gift of Pope Francis and for the Holy Father’s decision to come to Philadelphia.

      +Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

      Archbishop of Philadelphia

      “A hallmark of Pope Francis’ ministry has been a genuine love for all people of good will ” (except., of course, those who steadfastly maintain Tradition in liturgy, practice and belief). Evidently, Archbishop Chaput agrees with Francis and his attitude towards traditional Roman Catholics.

  3. “I wish to confirm, if God wills it, that in September of 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families”.

    Well, let’s hope and pray that God doesn’t will it, and he stays in the Vatican apartments, or he’s in some Argentinian convalescent home or in some traditional Monastery somewhere by next September.

Leave a Reply