By Pat Ciarrocchi
ROME (CBS) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, Governor Tom Corbett and Mayor Michael Nutter are at the Vatican tonight to discuss plans for next year’s World Meeting of Families right here in Philadelphia.
They are hoping Pope Francis, like his predecessors, will be in attendance.
CBS 3’s Pat Ciarrocchi traveled with the delegation and she reports from Rome.
The first official reception of this very intense, three-day trip to the Vatican, happened Monday night. It was at the private residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. This comes after a very long and exhausting day of travel, but a day filled with anticipation.
The papal power team of Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter and an executive leadership group of business executives, got a quick course in antiquities on cobblestones, wet from several chilling downpours. For Archbishop Charles Chaput it didn’t chill the spirit.
“We’re all here to care for one another as brothers and sisters. And Francis embodies that. He’s not impressed with himself, he doesn’t exaggerate himself and he of course he doesn’t make light of his responsibilities either. But I think people are moved by that,” Archbishop Chaput said.
It may look touristy. In fact, Mayor Nutter followed by TV cameras got a the lot of attention outside the Pantheon. But this three-day trip to the Vatican in pursuit of Pope Francis is all business. The World Meeting of Families comes to Philadelphia in September of 2015. And the goal here is to convince the Pope to come.
“If the pope comes and I’m very hopeful that he will, you’re talking a million people just to watch probably. But it’s going to take a couple hundred thousand to produce this,” Governor Corbett said.
For Philadelphia, security would have to be unprecedented, and in this post 9/11 environment.
“The Pope is somebody who is a world figure and they are going to provide him the same kind of security that they would provide, in my opinion, that they would provide the President of the United States,” Corbett said.
In this delegation only Archbishop Chaput has ever met a Pope and they have known each other for 18 years. Mayor Nutter, on the other hand, is nervous about the Wednesday private audience.
“On one hand I am trying not to think about it too much, on the other hand I’m really hoping that I don’t have one of those speechless moments. I actually started to just jot some notes down,” Mayor Nutter said.
He does seem to be rather calm this evening. On Tuesday morning, there will be a ceremonial signing of the contract to actually bring the World Meeting of Families into Philadelphia and then the delegation has an invitation to have lunch at the residence where the Pope lives, and usually, dines. So there very well could be an informal passing of the bread, if you will, from a man that the world seems to be watching very closely.