As delegates from our area prepare for a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, people back home are doing their part to convince the Pope to come to Philly.
Starting on Tuesday, Visit Philadelphia, the official tourism group for the city, will launch a social media campaign inviting the Pope to come to Philly in September of 2015 when the city hosts the World Meeting of Families.
Visit Philly announced the campaign on twitter on Monday.
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Using the hashtag #PopeinPhilly, officials with Visit Philly hope the twitter campaign will play a role during Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Corbett’s meeting with the pope.
“The Mayor and the Governor are meeting with the Pope on Wednesday,” said Cara Schneider, Media Relations Director for Visit Philadelphia. “The idea is that if there’s action on Tuesday, they can refer to it on Wednesday when they meet him.”
Schneider says the campaign was a collaborative effort from Visit Philly, Mayor Nutter’s communications office, Councilman Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We’re all kind of playing together,” Schneider said. “It’s fun. I think it’s just a good-natured way for people to reach out. It’s really supposed to feel organic.”
Mayor Nutter, Governor Corbett and other delegates, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, landed in Rome on Monday. They will remain in Italy until Thursday to work with Vatican officials on the eighth World Meeting of Families.
City officials say the September 2015 event could attract more than 1 million people from around the world and be the largest gathering in Philadelphia history.
The Vatican has not confirmed a papal visit to the U.S., but other popes have attended past world family meetings, and family issues are a top priority for Pope Francis.
NBC10's Jim Rosenfield along with digital managing editor Karen Araiza and photojournalist Jason Ryan arrived in Rome on Saturday. The team is covering the efforts from local leaders to persuade the Pope to come to Philly. Rosenfield is reporting live on NBC10 throughout the week.