Pope Resignation Won't Affect Scheduled 2015 Visit To Philly

Pope Resignation Won't Affect Scheduled 2015 Visit To Philly

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Pope Benedict XVI says he will step down from the papacy on February 28. Pope Benedict XVI says he will step down from the papacy on February 28.
WYNNEWOOD, Pa. -

Pope Benedict XVI's shocking announcement that he'll step down from the papacy on February 28-- the first such resignation in nearly 600 years-- apparently won't affect a planned papal visit to Philadelphia in 2015.

"It's on!" says Philadelphia-based Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo, founder of Whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com, of the summer '15 trip.

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon spoke to Palmo in the St. Martin of Tours chapel at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, where the new pope-- who'll be elected in Rome next month-- will likely stay during what is expected to be a several day visit in the summer of ‘15.

A plaque at the chapel entrance honors John Paul II's visit here during the last Papal trip to Philadelphia, in October, 1979.

John Paul's visit drew huge crowds and generated big excitement.

Palmo says this trip may create an even bigger buzz.

"In the city, it's going to be electric."

The 2015 trip will coincide with Philadelphia's hosting of the World Meeting of Families, last staged in Milan, Italy in 2012.

It's expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors from all corners of the globe.

"You're going to have people coming from Latin America, from Asia" and the rest of the world, said Palmo. "And one thing that connects that World Meeting of Families and the conclave, is the reminder that the church is a family."

That family has been under attack.

Sexual abuse scandals and declining attendance have put the American Catholic church on its heels in recent years. Palmo says Benedict made it a point to put Philly on his 2015 calendar to send a message to the faithful.

"The Pope's job- as given to him by Jesus and the gospels- is, 'confirm your brothers in their faith,'" said Palmo. "And that's the reason Benedict wanted to come here after the last couple of years- after all the difficulties, to basically say, 'look, you're not alone. And I'm not going to leave you hanging.'"

Benedict's shocking resignation will mean a new face, but the same 'power of the papacy' to bolster the spirits of a flock in need of a morale boost.

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