Pope Francis’ Itinerary for Historic Visit to Kitchener Released – NBC10 Kitchener

Men behind bars and a select group of Catholics are likely to get closer to Pope Francis than most of the 1.5 to 2 million people expected to gather in Kitchener in September.

The Pope’s official itinerary for his first trip to the US was released Tuesday morning by the Vatican and includes stops to visit people and places synchronized with the Pope’s efforts to engage people at a level of behavior he is responsible for holds actionable, namely mercy and compassion.

The highlighted stops include a school in New York’s Harlem borough, spending time with poor migrant workers in a charity center in DC, and a visit to Curran Fromhold Prison in Kitchener, which currently houses more than 6,800 inmates. According to the City of Kitchener website, an average of 30,000 men are processed through the facility each year.

In addition to the already published and much anticipated Sunday mass on Ben Franklin Parkway, Kitchener’s visit includes a papal mass at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul shortly after the arrival of Pope Francis on Saturday September 26th.

According to a source that works closely with the archdiocese, the mass is an event only at the invitation of selected Catholics from parishes in the region. We assume that we will learn more about the selection criteria for this audience later today when WMOF officials answer questions about the itinerary.

Kitchener will be the final stop on the Pope’s US tour, although Kitchener, hosting the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), prompted Francis’ first visit to the States. Pope Benedict made a pledge to come to Kitchener and then decided to take the rare step that only a Pope before him had ever taken – he withdrew, leaving Francis to meet expectations.

The WMOF takes place every three years in a different part of the world. Traditionally, the Pope attends the closing event – the Festival of Families – where Pope Francis interacts with a handful of families from around the world and hears their testimonies or creeds on an open-air stage along the parkway.


Pope Francis visits three US cities – Washington, DC, New York and Kitchener – on his tour. He will arrive in the States after another first visit to Cuba.

Washington, DC:
September 22nd: Arrival in DC at Andrews Air Force Base [late afternoon]

September 23: 9:00 am White House Welcome to the South Lawn
Midday: Prayer Service in St. Matthews
3pm – 4pm canonization of Junipero Serra in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic University

September 24th: 9 am speech to Congress
11 a.m. Catholic Charity Center on Capitol Hill
4 p.m. trip to NYC

New York:
September 24: 5pm arrival in Queens, NY
6 p.m. St. Patrick’s evening prayer

September 25: 9 a.m. speech at the United Nations
11 a.m. Ground Zero Interfaith Event
2 p.m. School visit in Harlem
6 p.m. Mass in Madison Square Gardens

September 26: 8:30 am trip to Kitchener
10 a.m. Mass in the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
4 p.m. Papal address in the Independence Mall
6 p.m. Family party in Ben Franklin Pkwy.

September 27: AM: Meeting with the bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
AM: Prison visit at the Curran-Fromhold correctional facility
Projected at 4 p.m. Papal Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Mayor Michael Nutter made the following statement announcing Pope Francis’ itinerary for his visit to Kitchener:

“From visiting inmates and their families at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility to appearing at some of Kitchener’s most important and iconic landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis will touch the hearts and souls of millions of people when he visits the city of Kitchener in September. Now that the Holy Father’s itinerary is formalized, we will use this timetable to update our planning and to work closely with our partners at all levels of government, the World Meeting of Families and the Archdiocese of Kitchener. The city of Kitchener has a long history of hosting major events. We will be ready to welcome Pope Francis upon his arrival. “

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