I’m sure there are others who are overflowing with Pope Francis city panic, right? Let’s talk about this.
In 2 weeks he will be in the United States. Two of those days will be in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. There will be a papal mass on a large Parkway and near the historical section of our city. The city expects a million visitors, minimum. This is going to be huge.
The Pope coming means it’s a national security event and the Secret Service is organizing security. If you haven’t heard they are building a wall around the city once the Pope is in. Literally, walls on for sides to keep all vehicles out. Even residents in the city must get their cars out. From Friday-Monday no vehicles in and out of the area. The inner city protected area is being called “Francis Festival Grounds.” That is supposed to reduce the bad image we all had after so many PR nightmares.
My office will be closed for four business days during the World Meeting. Public transportation will be running weird schedules to keep up with the extra people. People are expected to walk up to four miles to get into the city for the public mass. The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed for four days. Schools are closed. It’s a nightmare. The restaurants and business folks aren’t sure if they’ll be open to feed the million people on the Parkway. With no trash pick up and no deliveries allowed, the food businesses will be struggling. It’s going to be smelly and gross.
I think it’s such an exciting thing to happen to any city- having a Pope visit. I don’t know if anything could be done differently to make it less of a hardship on those living within the festival grounds. If I lived closer I would probably go to mass just to see the Pope. I’m not even Catholic but it is exciting. The city is trying to get people motivated to attend rather than fleeing before the city shuts down. I hope that as a city we are able to give the City of Brotherly Love vibe that we are “known” for. Someone this significant should be honored and we should be proud to host him. Somehow I think things won’t go off without a hitch, but I can hope.
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