PHILADELPHIA - The first stop for Pope Francis when he visits Philadelphia the morning of Sept. 26 will be the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul to celebrate a special Mass for the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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WASHINGTON - Standing beside a statue by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz called Homeless Jesus, Msgr. John Enzler pledged to spend a night with the city’s homeless before Pope Francis’ visit in September.

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Growing conservative disaffection with Pope Francis appears to be taking a toll on his once teflon-grade popularity in the United States, with a new Gallup poll showing the pontiff’s favourability rating among all Americans dropping to 59 per cent from a 76-per-cent peak early last year.

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Nearly 500 Canadians have already signed up to be in Philadelphia with Pope Francis for the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

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VATICAN CITY - In word and deed, Pope Francis will take his vision of a Catholic's approach to family life, parish life, charity, economics, immigration and good governance to Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit.

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On June 30, the Vatican released details of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States, his first to this country.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis is expected to draw a crowd of up to 2 million people to Philadelphia at the end of September’s World Meeting of Families, event organizers said during a visit to Rome June 25.

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VATICAN CITY - Cubans are waiting for Pope Francis "with open arms," said Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana.

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PHILADELPHIA - Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family and lead Vatican organizer of September's World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors for alleged embezzlement.

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WASHINGTON - Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, offered teasing bits of insider information about Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on the environment, on what he might say in the United States in the fall, and on what it was like to be in the conclave that elected Francis.

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PHILADELPHIA - Advance preparations for the wildly popular Pope Francis, due in Philadelphia five months from now, might rival the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

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MONTREAL - Pope Francis has been invited to Montreal in 2017 to participate in celebrations marking the city’s 375th anniversary.

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WASHINGTON - Surprising even the people who have been promoting the sainthood cause of Blessed Junipero Serra, Pope Francis announced Jan. 15 that in September, he hopes to canonize the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan who founded a string of missions across Mexico and California.

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VATICAN CITY - Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says hot-button socio-sexual issues won’t be the central focus when the World Meeting of Families welcomes Pope Francis to the City of Brotherly Love next year.

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MILAN (CNS) -- One thing the Tuncaps and the Wongs have in common, other than attending their first World Meeting of Families with five children each, is they've had a lot of people tell them they were crazy.

Paula Wong, 42, said that back home in Coogee, Australia, people at the supermarket often say "I'm so glad I'm not you!" as she pushes her cart with her tousle-haired kids.

Her husband Hendrikus, 45, said his relatives still can't understand why he would want so many children when his mother grew up poor in Jakarta in a family of 10.

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