By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Pope Francis' Philly upcoming visit has homeowners renting rooms
When Pope Francis rolls into town, a lot of people want to see him, including many from all over the United States. He'll be in Philadelphia this fall. Hotels are filling up, and private homeowners are renting out rooms. - photo by Mark A. Kellner
Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the United States in September his first as pontiff is maxing out available lodging in Philadelphia, where he is due to celebrate an outdoor Mass attended by between 1.5 million and 2 million people.

"The 1.5 million people expected to pack into Philadelphia this fall for Pope Francis' first visit to the United States will fill the city's hotels, motels and Patricia Hughey's spare rooms," Reuters reported. Hughey, who said she was raised Catholic but no longer attends worship, will host "two brothers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and a married couple from Vietnam," the news agency said.

An estimated 1,200 families have registered with to offer lodgings at affordable prices, Reuters reported. Hotels in the center of town are pretty much fully booked, however, and suburban area lodgings are also in high demand.

"This is a once in a lifetime event," Jack Ferguson, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the Norristown, Pennsylvania, Times-Herald, a town 20 miles from downtown. "Youre talking about millions of people coming in very quickly and creating a demand in a very compressed period of time. This absolutely will push out into the suburbs."

Similarly distant from the heart of Philadelphia, the Wayne Hotel in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is happy the pope's coming.

"This pope has an unprecedented appeal, (it) transcends various cultures that have Catholic centers of population," said David Brennan, general manager of the Wayne Hotel. "It transcends everything. He seems to have an appeal like none before him."

Those wanting to make the two-hour ride from Harrisburg, the state capitol, to attend the Pope's Mass will have to find an alternative to the 30 buses chartered by the Roman Catholic diocese there. The Patriot-News reports tickets sold out in 60 minutes.

"We knew there would be a lot of interest in this," diocese spokesman Joe Aponick told the newspaper. "I think we thought the tickets would go within a day but to have them go within an hour was a little bit of a surprise."

Massive security preparations for the visit, which could draw as many as 2 million spectators at its peak, are underway, WCAU-TV reported.

"We know were going to get an awful lot of people here. Some estimates as a high as 2 million. Thats an awful lot," city Police Chief Charles Ramsey told the station. "Even if its half that, I mean thats an awful lot of people that we have to be able to get in and out and make sure we maintain security and safety of everyone, including the pope, obviously."

Amidst all the commotion, there's one visitor to Philadelphia who won't have to worry about lodgings. Instead of a swank downtown hotel, Francis will bunk with Catholic seminarians and the local archbishop, KYW-TV reported.

"Philadelphias Archbishop Charles Chaput says he hasnt received the official word yet from the Vatican, but hes already planning on hosting Pope Francis at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion," a suburb, the station said.

"Im not the only one hosting the pope at the seminary," Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said. Students for the priesthood "will be doing that, too. And, Im sure that they will be looking for every opportunity to see him, but also to greet him. And, he is, as you know, a very friendly man and he will not keep them at a distance. Certainly he loves seminarians, he pays attention to them and theyd be hugely disappointed if they dont see the man whos staying on the property with them."
Sign up for our E-Newsletters