By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Archbishop Charles Chaput last week fueled speculation that the Pope will visit Philadelphia for the September 2015 World Meeting of Families.
As of Monday morning — there’s still no confirmation from the Vatican, but if the pontiff does come, an appearance on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is not a certainty.
One million turned out on the Parkway in 1979 for the appearance of Pope John Paul II, so it’s easy to assume that if Pope Francis does come to Philadelphia, the Parkway would be the site. Not necessarily, says the mayor’s Chief of Staff Everett Gillison.
“We have several different sites that we have proposed, several different logistics. There’s positives and negatives to every place that you choose. And I think that we all are hoping that it will be on Parkway, because I just don’t think that any other place really says ‘Philadelphia’ like that view, like that shot,” he says.
Possible sites for a Pope appearance other than the Parkway would include Fairmount Park in West Philadelphia, the stadium complex in South Philadelphia, and even the Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
Council President Darrell Clarke, whose district includes the neighborhoods around the Parkway, says residents will understand if the Pope’s appearance disrupts daily life:
“This event – having the Pope coming to the city of Philadelphia and to the community — I think people can bear any potential negative impact relating to such a visit, just by virtue of who is coming and the message that will be delivered. So I think people will be okay for that short period of time.”
Confirmation on the pope’s plans are not expected until the spring.
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