Nutter, Corbett practice their Philly sale pitch

Posted: March 25, 2014

THEY USUALLY don't agree on much, but Mayor Nutter and Gov. Corbett seemed downright giddy yesterday afternoon, moments before they boarded a flight together to Rome.

Both leaders, along with Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, are leading a delegation to Italy until March 27 - hoping to convince Pope Francis to visit Philly next year when the city hosts the eighth World Meeting of Families.

Selling Philadelphia, Nutter said, will be easy.

"Philadelphia, city of freedom, liberty and democracy, was founded on the principal issue of religious tolerance," Nutter said in Terminal A. "Philadelphia is a microcosm of America, one of the most diverse cities in the United States."

Corbett said he and Nutter would meet with officials to discuss the logistics of the event, which could draw up to a million visitors from outside the area.

"We are really there to learn as much as we can," Corbett said.

If Pope Francis, Time magazine's reigning Person of the Year, makes the trip, it will be his first visit to the United States and officials say his appeal could make the crowd even larger.

The Vatican has not said whether Pope Francis would visit, but popes have attended World Meeting of Families in the past.

Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the Philadelphia event, said it was important to get volunteers and business sponsorship in the city, noting that Milan had approximately, 5,000 people help out with the World Meeting of Families in 2012.

On Twitter: @JasonNark

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