Before Pope Francis visits Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, he will address a joint session of Congress, celebrate Mass at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and in New York, address the United Nations and visit Ground Zero, the Catholic News Agency reported Sunday.
According to the news site, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who is helping to plan the pope’s September visit, said the pope will spend about a week in the United States. Auza is the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations.
Here’s how CNA reports the visit will shape up if the pope approves:
- In Washington, a Sept. 22 event at the White House; Mass at Washington’s basilica primarily for bishops, women and men religious, and seminarians, and an address to a joint session of Congress — a papal first.
- Beginning on Sept. 25 in New York, the pope will address the United Nations Post-2015 Sustainable Development Summit, which many world leaders are expected to attend; celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden, and visit Ground Zero, like his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI did in 2008.
- The pope would then travel to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 26-28, where a public Mass is expected to attract more than 1 million pilgrims.
“But these are just proposals,” Auza told the news agency. “At the end of February, there will be the first organizational visit (from a Vatican delegation), and then we will see what we could really fill in.”
The Vatican typically does not confirm details of papal travel until several weeks before scheduled visits. But in a surprise move in November, Pope Francis announced personally he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.