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June 30, 2015

Pope Francis' Itinerary for Historic Visit to Philadelphia
Officially Released by the Vatican

In addition to the Festival of Families and Papal Mass, the Holy Father will deliver an address at Independence Hall and visit inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility among other activities as part of an expansive two-day visit

Philadelphia, PA (June 30, 2015) -Today, the Vatican released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis' journey to the United States, including his schedule for Philadelphia on September 26-27, which will close the 6-day Apostolic Journey. Confirmed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and theWorld Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, Pope Francis will take part in eight public (8) events in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, in addition to his arrival at/departure from Atlantic Aviation.
The following reflects the chronological order of confirmed Papal events for Philadelphia.

Saturday, September 26

  • Private Arrival: Atlantic Aviation
  • The Cathedral Mass with Pope Francis: The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

  • Afternoon:
  • Greeting of the Holy Father by the Seminarians of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary: Exterior Front Steps of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
  • "We Hold These Truths... :" Independence Hall (Outdoor; Overlooking Independence Mall)
  • Address by Pope Francis (Expected Themes: Religious Liberty and Immigration)

  • Evening:
  • The Festival of Families: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Sunday, September 27

  • 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

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

  • Evening:
  • A Celebration of World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015 Supporters + Volunteers: Atlantic Aviation
  • Official Departure Ceremony: Atlantic Aviation

Decisions regarding which events will require passes are still to be determined. The Festival of Families (Saturday, September 26) and the Papal Mass (Sunday, September 27) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are open to the public.

"Pope Francis' plans for his visit to Philadelphia seamlessly integrate powerful public moments with more intimate gatherings that are deeply grace filled," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. "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 planned itinerary is a true gift to all of us in the Philadelphia regardless of faith tradition. I am confident we will leave a positive and lasting impression upon Pope Francis and keep the spirit of his visit in our hearts as we seek constantly to build a better society."

The below provides a brief overview of the key sites selected for Papal events/moments in Philadelphia:

Atlantic Aviation
Atlantic Aviation is a fixed-base operator which has been granted the right by the Philadelphia International Airport to serve private, corporate and general aviation aircrafts on the airport's premises. It is where Air Force One and Air Force Two land when the President and/or Vice President visit Philadelphia.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
Considered Pennsylvania's largest cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul serves as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as it houses the chair or "cathedra" of the Archbishop. Additionally, the Cathedral is the largest and most architecturally-eminent structure brownstone in the City of Philadelphia with its Roman-Corinthian style, majestic facade, vaulted dome, eight (8) impressive side chapels and main sanctuary. It was designed by Napoleon LeBrun, known for his work on the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and John Notman, designer of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

Modeled after the Lombard Church of Saint Charles (San Carlo al Corso) in Rome, the cathedral is central to the history of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The great dome is a recognizable sign of this religious landmark among the many civic ones on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Completed in 1864, the Cathedral Basilica seats approximately 1,500 people.

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, established in 1832 by Philadelphia's third Bishop, is the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It has served as a leading institution in the formation of Catholic men for the Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and dioceses throughout the country for more than 180 years. As a center of enrichment for the larger Church community, Saint Charles provides ongoing academic and pastoral programs to priests, deacons, religious and lay men and women through the School of Diaconal Studies and the Graduate School of Theology.

Past dignitary visitors include four future Popes: Pius XII as Cardinal Pacelli, Paul VI as Cardinal Montini, John Paul II, twice as Cardinal Wojtyla and a third time as Pope, and Benedict XVI as Cardinal Ratzinger. Additional visitors who have received honorary degrees at Saint Charles include Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Angelica, and Avery Cardinal Dulles.

Independence Hall
Independence Hall is the centerpiece of Independence National Historic Park in Center City Philadelphia. The United States of America was born within the walls of Independence Hall, as it is the location where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In 1787, the Constitution of the United States, which forms the framework for our government, was signed in the very same building. Independence Hall is a fundamental icon of United States history. It is the home of America's universal principles of human dignity, religious freedom and democracy.

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Inspired by Paris' Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a breathtaking boulevard that runs through the cultural heart of Philadelphia. Stretching from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a scenic, tree-lined boulevard flanked by some of Philadelphia's most acclaimed tourist destinations, leading the way to a cultural mecca of world-class museums and educational institutions. The Parkway also provides access to Fairmount Park, consisting of 63 parks across 9,200 acres. Fountains, small parks, statues and monuments all give the Parkway its own special characteristic, unique to the City of Brotherly Love.

The Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
The facade of Saint Martin's Chapel is modeled after the Church of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome. The spiritual home of the College Division since its opening in 1928, Saint Martin's features a four-manual Moller pipe organ with over 2,500 pipes. It was donated by Albert Greenfield, a prominent Philadelphian and friend of Cardinal Dennis Dougherty. Behind the altar are paintings depicting the life of Saint Martin of Tours, the 4th-century Roman soldier-turned-bishop. Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Philadelphia in 1979, met with the seminarians of Saint Charles in Saint Martin's Chapel.

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Center
Opening in 1995, Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF) is the largest Philadelphia Prison System facility. The prison was named in honor of Warden Patrick Curran and Deputy Warden Robert Fromhold, who were killed at Philadelphia's Holmesburg prison in the line of duty in 1973. The 25-acre prison consists of four (4) housing buildings and processes nearly 30,000 males annually.

We are exceptionally grateful for the Holy Father's plans for Philadelphia as they are reflective of his pastoral priorities as well as Philadelphia's identity as the birthplace of religious freedom and a city of neighborhoods built by diverse immigrant communities," said Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director for the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015. "With his itinerary announced, we can now finalize our own planning knowing the places that Pope Francis wishes to visit and the themes upon which he wishes to touch. We have every confidence that this visit move us all in ways we cannot yet imagine."

Co-sponsored by the Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. This international gathering will welcome Pope Francis to the United States for the first time in his Papacy. Being held in the United States for the first time ever, the official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is "Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive."

For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, visit For more information regarding The Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family, which co-sponsors the World Meeting of Families, visit You can also engage the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia on Facebook (World Meeting of Families 2015) (Encuentro Mundial de las Familias - Filadelfia 2015), Twitter (@WMF2015) (@WMF2015ES) and Instagram (WMF2015).

About World Meetings of Families
Beginning with 1994, The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Family has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015). Since its inception by Saint John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe.


Kenneth A. Gavin
Director of Communications

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