Though not yet confirmed by the Vatican, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has announced that Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States to attend the World Meeting of Families that will take place in Philadelphia next year.
The World Meeting of Families is a massive conference hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family that has been held every three years since 1994. Three years ago at the meeting in Milan, Italy, one million people attended the Mass celebrated by then Pope Benedict. A similar number attended the meeting in Valencia, Spain, in 2006.
“The Pope has told me that he is coming,” Archbishop Chaput told a gathering of American Indians in Fargo, North Dakota. “The Pope will be with us the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that week.”
The Vatican announced that Francis has been invited to visit several American cities, including New York and Washington, D.C. Not only would this be Francis’s first visit as Pope, it would be his first visit to the United States ever.
It is expected the Vatican will make a formal announcement six months before the event, which takes place September 22-27, 2015.