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Thank you for reading philly.com's FAQ about the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia. If you have a question that may be unanswered here, feel free to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try to get it answered.
Pope Francis will be in Philly on Sept. 26 and 27 to mark the culmination of a week of activities (Sept. 22-25) by the World Meeting of Families Congress that pulls from 150 countries.
His trip here will mark the last leg of his North American journey, with stops in Cuba, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
His local itinerary open to the public includes a stop at Independence Mall, a Saturday World Meeting of Families celebration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and a Sunday Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
No. Pope Francis' visit to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility will be closed to the public.
St. John Paul II created the World Meeting of Families in 1994 in Rome to explore the role family plays in society and to give families opportunities to talk about their challenges and blessings. This will be the group's eighth congress, being held September 22-25 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In addition to three midweek morning Masses, the congress will hold breakout sessions and host a variety of speakers. For a look at its agenda, click here.
The World Meeting of Families Congress had a goal of 10,000 to 15,000 attendees. "We already have more than 12,000 individual registrations and expect more so we are really pleased," said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the WMOF.
The closing events, in which Pope Francis will be present, include the Festival of Families on Sept. 26 and the Papal Mass on Sept. 27. "It is anticipated 750,000 to 1 million persons will be present for the Festival of Families and upwards of 1.5 million persons will be in attendance for the Papal Mass," Crilley Farrell said.
While driving to Philadelphia is possible, parking will be at a premium and much of the city may be closed to traffic due to the security preparations for the pontiff's visit. Public transportation via Amtrak, SEPTA, PATCO and buses is encouraged.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) plans to operate on a normal schedule during the week. But that will change on the weekend. "With the extraordinary number of people expected to attend events during the papal visit, SEPTA will be more than doubling Regional Rail service capacity," the authority says on its website.
Trains will operate from ONLY 18 stations and ONLY passengers with special prepaid passes will be allowed to board. Weekly and monthly Trailpasses will not be honored. Trains into the city will run from 5:30 a.m. to noon. Trains leaving the city to the designated stations will begin at 5:30 p.m.
All passengers travelling by Regional Rail on Sept. 26 and 27, including seniors, those with disabilities and children over the age of 5, will have to pre-purchase a One Day Papal Pass.
Due to limited parking at the designated train stations and nearby overflow lots, SEPTA is urging customers to get dropped off and picked up.