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FROM THE Papal Visit Playbook Homepage: World Meeting of Families 2015


From September 22-27, we have the exciting opportunity to highlight the best of Philadelphia and our great Commonwealth to visitors from around the world – and we want to ensure that every resident has the resources needed to enjoy Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States.

This Papal Visit Playbook is an in-depth guide on what to expect from the Papal Visit. As we all become hosts to the world, this Playbook provides a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts – from a transportation plan overview with soon to come pedestrian maps and walking routes to special dining and event offerings. This Playbook also outlines a general overview of how to personally prepare for an event of this scale and enjoy the city’s unique offerings and events.

On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the World Meeting of Families, we thank each of you for joining us in showing off our great City and region. We are also grateful to the United States Secret Service and all of our government and transportation partners for helping to make this event a success.

This once-in-a-lifetime event will feature our City and the world on the international stage, and we hope that you are as excited as we are to host Pope Francis. Let’s seize and enjoy the moment!

Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Michael Nutter & World Meeting of Families — Philadelphia 2015  President Bob Ciaruffoli


With as many as 150 nations represented, the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 will bring together generations, different cultures and various socio-economic groups as well as families from multiple faith traditions. Whether Catholic or of another faith tradition, all will join together to reaffirm the families importance as the cornerstone of our global society.

Sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the host diocese, each World Meeting has its own unique theme. The theme for Philadelphia is “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is a six-day international event and celebration that draws participants from around the globe

The Congress – scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 through Friday, September 25, 2015 – will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PACC) and is designed to provide participants with the opportunity to participate in cross-cultural dialogue and prayers during daily Mass, devotions and breakout sessions.

The closing events of the Eighth World Meeting of Families take place on Saturday, September 26 – Sunday, September 27 when Pope Francis visits Philadelphia.  These events include the Festival of Families, an intercultural, multi-faith celebration of family life around the world, which will be held on the evening of Saturday, September 26, and a Papal Mass to be held during the afternoon of Sunday, September 27.


The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has designated Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, from September 26-27, as a National Security Special Event (NSSE). This designation means that the United States Secret Service assumes its mandated role as the lead agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. The Secret Service has been a valuable partner in the development of the security plan to ensure the success of this event, as well as the safety of Pope Francis and our expected visitors.

It is important to note that the Congress, being held September 22-25, is not an NSSE event. As such, the enhanced security measures being planned for the Papal Visit will not be in place for throughout the week and will only be enforced upon his arrival.