Chaput has 'strong hopes' Pope Francis will visit Philly

Pope Francis waves to faithful from his pope-mobile as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Archbishop Charles Chaput has “strong hopes” that Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia next year for a massive Catholic church celebration, Chaput announced Friday in an installment of his weekly column.

“In September next year, families from around the globe will gather in Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families,” Chaput wrote. “We have strong hopes that our wonderful Pope Francis will join us.”

The remark came the same day Chaput staged a news conference with Mayor Michael Nutter and Gov. Tom Corbett to announce the officials will lead a delegation to Rome later this month.

There, they’ll meet with the pope as part of the planning process for the World Meeting of Families, slated to be held Sept. 22 to 27 in Philadelphia.

The gathering will mark the first time the event, staged every three years in a different city, will be held in the United States.

In Chaput’s column, titled, “Come to Philadelphia: An Invitation to the World’s Families for 2015,” he also called on families to “share more and acquire less” and to “unplug a little from the network of noise” that he feels has become an impediment to building strong ties.

“This is the mission of the World Meeting of Families: to show the joy of authentic family life to the world, and to invite others from around the world to share in it,” Chaput wrote.

Chaput, Nutter and Corbett will be joined in Rome by Bob Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families Board of Directors and CEO of ParenteBeard; Independence Blue Cross president and CEO Daniel Hilferty; Maguire Foundation co-principal James Maguire Sr. and Aramark chairman Joseph Neubauer.

Chaput said at the news conference that the business giants, along with Comcast Corporation CEO Brian Roberts and executive vice president David Cohen, have been active co-chairs of the World Meeting of Families Executive Leadership Cabinet.

The group has been tasked with reaching out "to the broader corporate and philanthropic community in support of this event," Chaput said. 

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.