By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Organizers of the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit to Philadelphia this September disclosed today that the US Department of Homeland Security is taking the lead in all security arrangements for the events, which are expected to draw up to two million people to the city.

Bob Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia organization (at lectern in photo below), says the federal government has declared the visit by Pope Francis and activities leading up to his arrival a “national security special event.”

 

(Bob Ciaruffoli, president of World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia, announces during a Wednesday gathering of community and elected officials at Independence Blue Cross headquarters, that the federal government will take the lead on security for the World Meeting congress and Pope Francis' visit at the end of September.  Photo by Mark Abrams)

(Bob Ciaruffoli, president of World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia, announces during a Wednesday gathering of community and elected officials at Independence Blue Cross headquarters, that the federal government will take the lead on security for the World Meeting congress and Pope Francis’ visit at the end of September. Photo by Mark Abrams)

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“Multiple governmental agencies are extremely involved in the process,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “every step of the process.  They’re working closely.  There’s multiple committees set up where all the various agencies from the different governmental entities are involved in.”

The designation puts the Secret Service in charge of all security. The FBI is tasked with intelligence gathering and investigation of any terrorism threats, any incidents of terrorism, or other major criminal activities.

Ciaruffoli says the designation brings lots of resources to Philadelphia, including materials and manpower for the World Meeting congress and the pope’s visit, set for the last weekend of September.