Pope Francis to visit US next year for conference

Pope Francis accepted the invitation of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year, the Catholic News Service reported Friday.

It would be the Pontiff's first visit to the United States as Pope.

The news service, which is the official publication of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Chaput made the announcement Thursday before giving his homily during the opening Mass of the Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo, North Dakota.

"Pope Francis has told me that he is coming," said the archbishop as he invited his fellow Native Americans to the celebration being held in Philadelphia on September 22 to 27 in 2015.

The Catholic News Service also reports the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, as saying Pope Francis has received invitations to visit other cities as well, which he is considering. Those invitations include New York, the United Nations, and Washington.

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