Visit to the Birthplace of America and Talk with Prisoners Highlight Pope's Trip to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The itinerary for Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia is now official. The Pontiff arrives in Philadelphia Saturday morning September 26th.

The first official event will be a mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. This will be an invitation only event. Following the mass, Pope Francis will travel to the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary where he will stay for the weekend. He will be greeted by dozens of seminarians there.

The following reflects the chronological order of confirmed Papal events for Philadelphia.:

Saturday, September 26


{C} · {C} Private Arrival: Atlantic Aviation

{C} · {C} The Cathedral Mass with Pope Francis: The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul


{C} · {C} Greeting of the Holy Father by the Seminarians of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary:
Exterior Front Steps of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary

{C} · {C} "We Hold These Truths… :" Independence Hall (Outdoor; Overlooking Independence Mall)

{C} o {C} Address by Pope Francis (Expected Themes: Religious Liberty and Immigration)


{C} · {C} The Festival of Families: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Sunday, September 27


{C} · {C} Address to Cardinals + Bishops attending World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015:
Saint Martin's Chapel at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary

· Visit with Prisoners and Select Families:
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility


· The Papal Mass: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Projected: 4 p.m. EST)


· A Celebration of World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 Supporters + Volunteers:
Atlantic Aviation

· Official Departure Ceremony: Atlantic Aviation


Following his lunch visit to the Seminary, the Pope will make his way to Independence Mall. Then with Independence Hall as the backdrop Pope Francis will talk to tens of thousands of visitors. He's expected to speak about religious freedom and immigration.

The next opportunity for people to see Pope Francis will happen a few hours later on the Ben Franklin Parkway when he arrives for the World Festival of Families. The festival will play host to renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Latin American music star Juanes and our own Philadelphia Orchestra.


Sunday's visit starts with Pope Francis meeting with bishops and seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Following that he makes his way to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. There the pope is expected to talk with young prisoners and their families. He will then go next door to the women's prison and address them as well.

The next public event is the most anticipated Papal Mass on the Parkway. Nearly two million people are expected on the Parkway for the mass starting about 4pm. Mass is expected to last nearly two and a half hours. When mass concludes Pope Francis will travel to the airport for a departure ceremony, concluding his North American visit.

VIDEO : Archbishop Says Pope Visit Will Bring Millions To Philadelphia

All of these activities will tax Philadelphia's mass transit system. In mid-June Mayor Nutter and regional transportation leaders announced preliminary plans to deal with the large crowds expected for the visit. SEPTA will operate normal service for the World Meeting of Families, Tuesday through Friday of that week, but expect drastic changes Saturday and Sunday. Regional Rail trains will run with stops at only 31 or its 282 stations. Special passes can be purchased at They go on sale July 15th.

Also, PATCO trains between New Jersey and Center City will have limited stops. Special fare cards for the weekend also go on sale in mid-July.

Archbishop Charles Chaput released the following statement :

"We've been eagerly anticipating today's news from the Vatican today since it was announced last November that Pope Francis would be with us for the World Meeting of Families.

I received formal word of the schedule for the Holy Father's two days in Philadelphia with great joy and I'm certain that countless individuals in our City, our Commonwealth, and our country share that emotion with me.

As the birthplace of religious freedom, Philadelphia is a city rich in history and diversity. This itinerary recognizes the importance of those qualities and the Pope's desire to witness them firsthand.

Pope Francis' plans for his visit to Philadelphia seamlessly integrate powerful public moments with more intimate gatherings that are deeply grace filled. It is an itinerary that says, I walk with you - and so does the Lord.' It says, Embrace your faith and embrace one another as children of God.' It says, God forgives.' And it says Come together in celebration.'

The Holy Father's time with us will be a true gift for all regardless of faith tradition. The many pilgrims present in September will experience a moment unlike any in the history of our city. The presence of the Holy Father will be electric and charismatic. It has the power to transform all of us in deeply positive ways. It will be our shared responsibility to take that gift and use all that we learn from it to build a better Church and a stronger society.

As the Holy Father has said, The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia is the central reason for his visit to the United States. That's something we can all be proud of and I'm confident that the impression we leave will be lasting and positive.

Please join me in praying for all those working to ensure we will be ready to welcome Pope Francis to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection in a few short months with open arms and joy filled hearts. Thanks be to God for the gift of Pope Francis!"