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Pope Francis

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Meet the priest in Rome who is helping prepare Philadelphia for the papal trip

2015-06-13

Planning for the upcoming World Meeting of Families has been taking place for years. With Pope Francis now attending, millions of people are expected to visit Philadelphia.

Fr. Bill Donovan works with the Pontifical Council for the Family as a liaison between the Vatican and Philadelphia's archbishop.

FR. BILL DONOVAN
Pontifical Council for the Family
"It's a great joy for me to represent Archbishop Chaput here in the Vatican in Rome, in preparation of the World Meeting of Families. It's the first time, since it was founded by Pope Saint John Paul II, that the World Meeting of Families will come to the United States. So we are very excited and grateful to the Holy Father.”

Some of the planning for the trip is mundane, but it is hugely important. For example, housing for thousands of people needs to be coordinated. 

FR. BILL DONOVAN
Pontifical Council for the Family
"We're asking the people to open their homes in Philadelphia to receive families from all over the world. So we are preparing. We expect by the congress maybe about 15,000 participants for these days. We understand that during the Pope's visit, which will be Saturday and Sunday, both the Festival of Family and the Mass, we will have several million people.”

The organizers also made sure that the event was consistent with Pope Francis' priorities. They're making a special effort to make sure the poor can also include their input. 

FR. BILL DONOVAN
Pontifical Council for the Family
"Archbishop Chaput has arranged so that every country in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean will be able to send two poor families. And this is in honor of Pope Francis. So we can have at this congress, at this celebration, at this world-class gathering, representatives from all over the Americas, but especially the poor will be represented. 

Pope Francis will visit the United States from September 22nd to 27th. In addition to Philadelphia, he will make stops in Washington, D.C. and New York City. 


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