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Pope Francis' first U.S. trip as pontiff slated for fall

PHILADELPHIA -- Pope Francis says he plans to visit Philadelphia in September, for the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

Francis formally announced his intention to attend the event in remarks offered Monday morning from the Vatican.

Local Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was present for the announcement, said he was "overjoyed," reports CBS Philadelphia station KYW-TV.

"A hallmark of his papacy has been a keen focus on the many challenges that families face today globally. His charisma, presence and voice will electrify the gathering," Chaput said.

The visit will be Francis' first to the United States as pope. He will be only the fourth reigning pontiff to visit the U.S.

His predecessor, now known as Pope Emeritus Benedict, had already said he'd travel to Philadelphia, but it was uncertain whether Francis would come.

"As I've said many times before, I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us - Catholic and non-Catholic alike - together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways," Chaput said. "We look forward to Pope Francis' arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts."

Detailed plans for the pope's visit haven't been finalized, but are expected to be released in spring or summer. However, it is expected that the Holy Father will visit September 25-27, 2015 to participate in the closing events of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, KYW reports.

Those events include the Festival of Families, an intercultural celebration of family life around the world, which would be held on Saturday, September 26, and a Papal Mass to be held on Sunday, September 27. Both of these events will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and will be open to the public.

It was unclear if Pope Francis would visit any other American cities during his trip.

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