By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Archbishop Charles Chaput is leading a high-profile delegation from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to Rome later this month, hoping to convince Pope Francis to come to Philadelphia for a Vatican-sponsored World Families Conference event.
The archbishop will be taking Gov. Corbett and Mayor Nutter along for what he calls a factfinding mission and a bid to make a personal pitch to the pope.
“We will meet privately with the holy father, Pope Francis, and share with him the great excitement and momentum surrounding the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia,” Chaput said today.
Chaput says that during their four days in Rome, the delegation also will meet with Vatican officials coordinating an event which could draw up to two million people to Philadelphia.
Mayor Nutter says the city has a track record of doing big events and is planning for the pope to be here along with lots of other people.
“We want people to come,” Nutter said. “We will do whatever we have to do to make this a very successful and great event here in the city of Philadelphia. So you can take that one to the bank.”
Nutter laughed at the idea of “sealing a deal” with the pope, saying the contingent will make its pitch.
And he welcomed the idea of the White House and President Obama helping in the effort. The president will be in Rome with his own plans to meet the pope right after the Philadelphia group leaves.