Gov. Corbett: Pope Francis' 2015 visit to Philadelphia could benefit Berks County economy

World Meeting of Families has potential to draw up to 1 million people

Corbett: Pope's visit would benefit Berks economy

PHILADELPHIA - Pope Francis is considering a visit to Philadelphia, and that could be good for business in Berks County.

Vatican Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia joined Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Mayor Michael Nutter and other dignitaries on a tour of Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Paglia serves as president of the Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family, the Vatican council helping to plan the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015.

If Pope Francis attends the event, it would be his first visit to the United States.

Corbett said similar gatherings around the world have drawn up to a million people, and state and city leaders are already planning for a similar attendance in Philadelphia.

"The potential for people being over in New Jersey, being well up into Bucks County, well over into Berks County and getting them in and out for all the different events would not be unsimilar to what happened back through the Republican convention [in 2000]," Corbett said.

Official word from the Vatican on whether the Pope will visit Philadelphia will not come until six months prior to the event, officials said.

"I am personally convinced that he is coming already, but not officially convinced because we haven't gotten an official announcement," said Archbishop Charles Chaput.

Local organizers also unveiled Tuesday the theme of the gathering: "Love is our mission: The family fully alive." The week-long conference aims to strengthen family bonds.

Corbett and Nutter visited Paglia in Rome two months ago.

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