Thousands of Pittsburghers will travel to Philadelphia this week to see Pope Francis including Pittsburgh Catholic Dioceses Bishop David Zubik.
The papal visit will likely occur surprise-free, Zubik said. Unlike Pope Paul II -- known as a philosopher -- and Pope Benedict XVI, who was a theologian, Pope Francis has built his reign on the pastoral relationship between the Vatican and the common men and women it serves.
“He speaks the language that people can understand,” said Zubik while on Essential Pittsburgh. “He frequently says, ‘Don’t be a sourpuss.’ Who would have ever thought something like that would come out of the mouth of the pope? But it does because he understands the common experiences we all have.”
Zubik said that in nearly every address, the pope mentions mercy and notes its strong resonance with both Catholics and non-Catholics.
While in the U.S., Pope Francis will address a joint session of congress and speak at the United Nations, but Zubik said the pope considers his stop in Philadelphia, which coincides with The World Meeting of Families, as the reason for his trip.
“Because in so many ways, our family systems here in the United States and throughout the world have weakened,” Zubik said. “And I think we are feeling the effects of that.”
Pope Francis will arrive in Philadelphia on Saturday in time to celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. On Sunday, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility in Philadelphia, where he is slated to speak to inmates.
“Pope Francis has a huge love for the poor and for the disadvantaged,” Zubik said. “He sees the suffering of the poor and he says, ‘You know what, we have to do our part, all of us, to respond to the needs of the poor.’”
Also on Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate the closing mass for the World Meeting of Families 2015. The Mass is expected to draw 400,000 celebrants and will be held outside the Philadelphia Art Museum.
A full agenda of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia can be found online.