LIFESTYLE

Pope Francis Coming To U.S. In 2015, Philadelphia Archbishop Says

Pope Francis, left, celebrates a mass where he bestowed the Pallium, a woolen shawl symbolizing their bond to the pope, to 24 new Metropolitan Archbishops, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, June 29, 2014. Looking tired but relaxed, Pope Francis has led his first major public ceremony after a spate of canceled appointments for health problems. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Pope Francis, left, celebrates a mass where he bestowed the Pallium, a woolen shawl symbolizing their bond to the pope, to 24 new Metropolitan Archbishops, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, June 29, 2014. Looking tired but relaxed, Pope Francis has led his first major public ceremony after a spate of canceled appointments for health problems. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)  (AP2014)

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said Thursday Pope Francis has confirmed he is coming to the U.S. next year, to attend the World Meeting of Families to be held in the northeastern city.

"Pope Francis has told me that he is coming," the Catholic News Service quoted him as saying. The meeting is schedule for September.

However, the Philadelphia Archdiocese says there is still no official confirmation of the pope's visit.

Also, a Vatican spokesman told the Associated Press that although Francis has said "he is willing" to attend, there is "no operating plan or preparations underway" for a visit.

Francis has yet to visit the United States as pope, and the question of whether he will attend the Philadelphia gathering has drawn intense speculation.

A Vatican spokesman told the Catholic News Service that the pope has received invitations to other U.S. cities like Washington, D.C., and organizations based here including the United Nations in New York.

Reports in the Mexican media have suggested that a swing through Mexico may be included in a papal trip to North America.

If he does come, it would be the first papal visit to the U.S. since 2008, when Pope Benedict came to Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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