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City and Church Leaders Note Significance of Pope's Independence Hall Stop

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- When Pope Francis visits Philadelphia in September, he will be making a stop at Independence Mall to speak about subjects near and dear to him.

With Independence Hall as a backdrop, the pontiff is expected to reach out to the anticipated 30,000-50,000 spectators to talk about immigration issues.

"This is a classic illustration of his pastoral priorities," says Donna Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families.  "He will be coming here to the birthplace of America, the country that has welcomed immigrants forever."

Farrell says the pope's visit includes "stupendous locations," but are being chosen just because they facilitate some of his pastoral themes on immigration and religious liberty.

"For the pope, it's all about the people," Farrell says.

Mayor Nutter says Pope Francis "draws strength from the circumstances and life stories" of immigrants.

"It allows him, as an international leader, to talk about so many of these issues," the mayor noted.

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