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Local Leaders Meet Pope, Encourage Him To Come To Philly

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The Pennsylvania delegation in Rome has met with Pope Francis.

The group led by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had their chance to meet the pontiff just a short time ago.

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon is at the Vatican and joined us live on the phone Wednesday morning.

Gordon reports that there was a last-minute change of plans. Instead of meeting the pope at his private residence, the delegation got a front-row seat for a general audience. They probably got about six minutes of face time.

Corbett led the procession to Pope Francis. They presented the pontiff with some gifts, including a miniature replica Liberty Bell as well as a football jersey from Nutter's alma mater, St. Joseph's Preparatory School.

Nutter tweeted that he also gave the pope Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Union jerseys, pins from the city and a Visit Philly gift book.

And the mayor delivered a letter written and signed by Prep juniors asking the pope to come to Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families being held here in September 2015. That, of course, is the purpose of the delegation's visit.

Several hundred thousand visitors are expected to a come from all over the world – and we could host triple that number if Pope Francis attends.

The pope has made six of the prior seven instances of this event. Philadelphia's turn to host became official Tuesday during a ceremonial signing session.

We'll have continuing coverage on FOX 29. Later, Gordon will be getting reaction from local leaders after their meeting with the pope.

WATCH LIVE ON ANY DEVICE: FOX 29 News Online

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