National Catholic Reporter

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Americans to meet pope this week

 |  NCR Today

We've got lots to say about President Barack Obama's meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday. (See Michael Sean Winters and Thomas Reese and John Carr at America.) But Obama isn't the only American making calls to Francis this week.

On Wednesday, a three-person team from Philadelphia -- Nutter, Corbett and Chaput -- will be in Vatican City, hoping to convince the pope to make the city of brotherly love part of his 2015 agenda.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Philly Mayor Michael Nutter and Archbishop Charles Chaput are heading a delegation of Pennsylvania political, business and community leaders hoping to see Francis on Wednesday. Francis has already been invited to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in September 2015 in Philadelphia, but there has been no official confirmation the pope will be there. Corbett, Nutter, Chaput and crew hope to seal the deal.

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According The Philadelphia Inquirer, the 2015 event is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of people to Philadelphia for five days of prayer, lectures and other activities. If Pope Francis agrees to attend, Corbett said, the event could draw more than 1 million people and $100 million in economic stimulus to Pennsylvania.

Many Americans are lobbying for a Francis visit. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has invited Francis to address a joint session of Congress.

The mayor of Green Bay, Wis., would also like the pope visit. Why? "Why not Green Bay?" responds Mayor Jim Schmitt. "It just seems that there's a whole lot of synergy with what the pope speaks and what the greater community of Green Bay believes."

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