By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Once a new pope is elected by the cardinals heading into conclave, will he eventually make it here to Philadelphia during his reign? His predecessor made a commitment to be here in September 2015 for a World Families Conference.
“Is the pope coming? I certainly hope so and I can’t imagine that he won’t,” says Archbishop Charles Chaput, leader of the Philadelphia archdiocese, last week in confirming plans for the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families here in 2015.
“We’re going to plan as though he’s going to come. But, we can’t promise, because the man who’s going to be pope hasn’t been chosen yet and hasn’t committed himself.”
Chaput says the last two popes attended events and the archbishop is confident the next pope will be here.
Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre is among those coordinating the planning and fundraising for the event.
McIntyre says the archdiocese will seek the help of donors both from within the church of Philadelphia and others in the region. “People in the wider community who aren’t a part of the church but nonetheless would like to support an event like this, because it will be of value to the city and the region on various levels, economically, the chance for Philadelphia to kind of showcase itself for a major international event.”
He says the archbishop will cast a wide net for financial support for the event.
And, if the pope comes and offers a Mass as the last two popes have done at such gatherings, the archdiocese has to come up with a location.
Bishop McIntyre says there are two options: “One would be an indoor venue like a stadium. Or, an outdoor venue – someplace that is much wider and open and would allow more people to attend. Perhaps the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with the Art Museum as a backdrop.”