Pope Francis to visit NYC in September 2015

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

Pope_Francis_Korea_Haemi_Castle_19_(cropped)New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Mayor Bill DeBlasio both confirmed on Monday that Pope Francis I will visit New York City in the Fall of 2015, the first such visit by the popular pontiff.

The stop is likely to be one of several planned for major cities on the East Coast, including Washington D.C.-where he has been invited to address a joint Congressional session-and Philadelphia. According to Dolan, the event will likely take place on only one day.

“Although the exact itinerary will not be set by the Holy See until around March 1, we would expect Pope Francis to visit us some time before he intends to go to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families,” Dolan stated in a press release. “He plans to be there September 26-27, so we should welcome him.”

Dolan added the Pope’s visit will include an address to the United Nations at around the same time as their summit on sustainable development. Church officials also expect a visit to the famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Visits to Madison Square Garden for a public mass and Ground Zero are also expected, but not yet finalized.

“I was proud to extend an invitation for His Holiness to visit New York when I met with Cardinal Parolin during our visit to the Vatican last year, and the Pope should know New York will welcome him with open arms,”New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced. “Pope Francis is the leading global voice on issues of social justice and income inequality, and New Yorkers from all backgrounds will be tremendously humbled and honored to hear his message right here in our city later this year.”

Francis’ statements on income distribution have rankled some on the free market side of the political spectrum. Critics have said the economy will not benefit from interference by governments.

The pope’s exact itinerary has not yet been confirmed by the Vatican, but the Catholic News Agency reported that a tour organizer suggested Francis would be in Washington on September 22, leave for New York on September 24, and depart for Philadelphia on September 26.

Recent papal visits to the city include a trip by John Paul II in 1995 and Benedict XVI in 2008.