Philadelphia, Pa., Jan 19, 2015 / 11:29 am
Archdiocese of Philadelphia director of communications Kenneth Gavin clarified that Pope Francis' official schedule during his trip to the U.S. in September has yet to be finalized.
"We are overjoyed that Pope Francis will be with us in September, and planning for his visit is intensely underway," he told CNA. "However, no final decisions regarding the Papal itinerary for Philadelphia have yet been made."
"Certainly, we are exploring a wide variety of potential scenarios and there are numerous factors and contingencies to consider," Gavin noted, adding that final confirmation of the Pope's Philadelphia schedule "can come only after consultation with the Papal household."
The update comes after Archbishop Bernardito Auza – a member of the organizing committee for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the U.S. – revealed details of the proposed schedule, which includes visits to three cities.
A Philippines native, Archbishop Auza is the Holy See's permanent observer to the U.N. in New York and to the Organization of American States in Washington. He is back in his homeland this week participating in the events of Pope Francis' Jan. 15-19 apostolic journey.
The Pope announced in November that that he will visit the U.S. in September 2015, including a stop at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which will take place from Sept. 22-27.
Even before the Pope's announcement, the meeting was expected to draw tens of thousands of people. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told a gathering of Catholic bishops in November that a papal visit would likely result in crowds of about 1 million.
A global Catholic event, the world meeting seeks to support and strengthen families. St. John Paul II founded the event in 1994, and it takes place every three years.