Nutter returns hopeful of a papal visit for World Meeting of Families

Posted: March 31, 2014

MAYOR NUTTER returned from Rome more optimistic about a papal visit to the City of Brotherly Love than he was before he left - indicating Philadelphia may very well see a visit from Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families in September 2015.

The mayor met with members of the press yesterday afternoon at City Hall to discuss his visit, saying he felt assured he and the Philadelphia delegation had been well-received during their nearly weeklong trip to Vatican City. The local delegation included Nutter's chief of staff Everett Gillison, Gov. Corbett and Archbishop Charles Chaput.

"After the full presentation with Pontifical Council, after literally having the opportunity to meet [Pope Francis], shake his hand and talk with him a few minutes, he seemed not only joyful to see us, but was quite well aware of why we were there," Nutter said.

"This has been one the greatest honors and blessings of my life."

While a decision from the Vatican could be many months away, Nutter said he would waste no time starting to prepare.

"My thinking is that we should anticipate - without knowing - that the pope may come," he said.

Nutter shared several gifts he received while in the Holy See, including a set of commemorative coins from the Pontifical Council, rosary beads from the pope himself and memorabilia from Temple University's campus in Rome.

A visit from Francis would require Herculean coordination among federal, state and local security agencies. Nutter said nothing has yet been budgeted for it, but venues and costs associated with it have time to develop.

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