Pope Francis to add New York to U.S. papal visit in September


Catholics in New York may have the chance to see the pope as his holiness will reportedly expand his papal visit in the U.S. in September to include New York City and Washington D.C.

Although the Vatican has not confirmed whether the pope will visit other cities in the U.S. outside Philadelphia where he is reportedly bound to travel, Vatican secretary Cardinal Pietro Patrolin said last week that Pope Francis will most likely include stops in New York and Washington during his papal visit. The secretary is the second highest official of the Vatican.

In November, the Vatican announced that the pope will fly to Philadelphia on Sept. 26 and 27 after he wraps the 2015 World Meeting of Families. The visit will coincide with the opening of the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which will be attended by a number of political leaders worldwide. 

According to the spokesperson of the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese is involved in the preliminary planning for the pope's visit. In relation to the U.N. General Assembly, this year is also the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's address to the United Nations in 1965 as the first pope to visit the United States. 

In addition, the renovation of St. Patrick's Cathedral will be completed by late September, just in time for Pope Francis' visit, which is a perfect opportunity for the pope to "re-bless" the cathedral.

As for his visit to Washington D.C., the pontiff may address a joint session of Congress and meet with President Barack Obama in the White House if he decides to fly to the nation's capital. A courtesy call to the White House is an important appointment in the pope's itinerary. 

Meanwhile, other groups and members of the Catholic Church are calling for more itineraries in Pope Francis' visit in the United States. This week, he is heading to Philippines for his four-day papal visit in the country.