Pope Francis will visit Philadephia next year according to an announcement made by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at the opening Mass of the Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo, North Dakota. [Catholic News Service]
The National Catholic Reporter said that "Because the General Assembly of the United Nations generally meets in September, there is also speculation that Francis might combine the Philadelphia outing with a stop in New York to address the U.N."
While the Archbishop noted that Pope Francis said he wants to attend the conference, the Archdiocese issued the following statement:
There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican or The Holy See of Pope Francis' attendance at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event.
Archbishop Chaput has frequently shared his confidence in Pope Francis' attendance at the World Meeting and his personal conversations with the Holy Father are the foundation for that confidence. We are further heartened and excited by the comments of the Vatican Press Office regarding Pope Francis' "willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families." While Archbishop Chaput's comments do not serve as official confirmation, they do serve to bolster our sincere hope that Philadelphia will welcome Pope Francis next September.
The last time the pontiff visited the United States was the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. This would be Francis' first visit to the USA since he was named pope in March 2013.
The trip would be Francis' first visit to the USA since becoming pope in March 2013. The previous pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, last visited the USA in 2008.