-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope's 2015 Philadelphia Visit Still to Be Confirmed
Official Confirmation Could Be Six Months Prior to Trip
By Staff Reporter
VATICAN CITY, July 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Despite reports to the contrary, Pope Francis' 2015 visit to Philadelphia has not yet been confirmed.
Responding to journalists' inquiries about the possible participation of the Pope in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the invitation remains under consideration.
He acknowledged that several invitations to visit America have been extended to Pope Francis and added that, as always, the Pontiff takes each into "due consideration."
"The Pope expressed his willingness to attend the meeting of the families," Fr. Lombardi said, but added he has "not actually started any operational project or program related to traveling to the United States or Mexico."
Calling for patience, the Vatican spokesman said: "It should be noted that there is still more than a year of time before the meeting in Philadelphia."
On the same day, the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Kenneth A. Gavin, issued a statement suggesting there would be no official word until six months before the visit.
"There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican or the Holy See of Pope Francis' attendance at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia," the statement read. "We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event."
Yet, some speculate its hopeful wording suggests a visit. In the statement, Gavin said the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, "has frequently shared his confidence in Pope Francis' attendance at the World Meeting and his personal conversations with the Holy Father are the foundation for that confidence."
It added: "We are further heartened and excited by the comments of the Vatican Press Office regarding Pope Francis' 'willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families.'"
Although the archbishop's comments do not serve as official confirmation, the spokesman said they "serve to bolster our sincere hope that Philadelphia will welcome Pope Francis next September."
Archdiocese of Philadelphia statement
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