Philly delegation headed to Rome in preparation for Pope Francis' visit

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A delegation of close to 40 people are headed to Rome for high level planning sessions ahead of Pope Francis? visit to Philadelphia in a few months. (WPVI)

A delegation of close to 40 people are headed to Rome for high level planning sessions ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia in a few months.

Mayor Michael Nutter and Archbishop Charles Chaput are among those heading up the delegation.

The World Meeting of Families gets underway on September 22nd and the clock is ticking.

As many as 15,000 delegates will attend the Congress of Families at the Convention Center.

Three days later the pope arrives to celebrate mass.

That's expected to draw upwards of 2 million people to the Ben Franklin Parkway.

"No doubt about it, there will be inconveniences, life will change for the citizens of Philadelphia in terms of moving about the city, especially towards the end of the week as we get closer to the pope's arrival," said Bishop John McIntyre, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Such a massive undertaking requires extensive planning at multiple levels.

The city's biggest concern will be creating a safe environment, not only for Pope Francis, but for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected.

"We want to make sure we're also prepared for the people, that they're drinking water, that they're getting rest, that they're in good and decent shape for the time that they'll be here. It's a big event and we want to prepare well for it," said Mayor Nutter.

The Secret Service has already been to Rome to meet with security personnel at the Vatican and the Italian government.

The city's public safety administrators are going along on this trip to map strategy and logistics.

The Archdiocese is looking forward to a once in a lifetime experience.

"Most people never have a chance to travel to Rome and for him to come to us is certainly a huge deal," said Bishop McIntyre.

The planning is well underway but so many details still need to be worked out during face to face meetings in Rome over the week ahead.
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religionphilly newsworld meeting of families 2015popepope francispope us visitphiladelphia archdiocesecatholic church
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