April 05, 2015
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput appeared on ABC News' This Week program on Sunday to give some behind-the-scenes details of plans for Pope Francis' visit to the city in September.
As part of the World Meeting of Families Congress, the pope is scheduled to lead a prayer vigil on Saturday, Sept. 26, and celebrate Mass on Sunday, Sept. 27. Both events will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In an interview with ABC's David Wright, Chaput said the altar for the Sunday Mass would be constructed near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Near the Rocky steps," Wright noted, asking Chaput if he would play the "Rocky" theme.
"Not during the Mass," Chaput replied.
Wright mentioned it will be Francis' first visit to the United States. The open-air Mass here is expected to draw 2 million faithful and "he's hugely popular here," Wright reported.
Wright pointed out that the pope was given pizza in Italy and suggested the archbishop might treat the pope to a Philly cheesesteak.
"I hadn't thought of that," Chaput replied, laughing, "perhaps we should do that."
Wright asked Chaput what he wanted to show the pope during his visit to the City of Brotherly Love.
"I'm looking forward to showing him an active, vibrant church in the United States," Chaput said.
In terms of rebuilding the church in Philadelphia and the United States, how much will the pope's visit help? Wright asked Chaput.
"I was the bishop of Denver, Colorado, in the period right after the World Youth Day where Pope John Paul II came to Denver, and that was a extraordinary, transformative moment in the life of Denver and the broader community," Chaput said. "And I am hoping with reasonable expectation, I think, that the visit of the Holy Father here will be the beginning of a new, evangelical energy here in the church of Philadelphia."
Chaput showed Wright a new painting he commissioned ahead of the papal visit that portrays Jesus with his parents, Mary and Joseph, and his paternal grandparents.
"Usually it's mom and dad and the baby," Chaput said. "One of the things that Pope Francis has emphasized from the beginning is the significance of grandparents in the life of families."
"It's a message of hope that God is triumphant," the archbishop said, "that life overcomes death. There's reason for us to have confidence even in difficult circumstances.