For those of you who do not know, Pope Francis is coming to Philly this weekend. And it’s notable because the last time a Pope visited the city was in 1979. Needless to say, this is a big deal. And Philadelphia sure is gearing up for it.
The city has been preparing for his visit for months, but only recently have they started setting up for him. When I was driving home from yoga the other day, they had already put up barricades for people over by Ben Franklin Parkway. And I’ve seen the big screens they have been setting up for spectators who aren’t close enough to actually see him. Based on what I have been observing and reading, they are expecting quite the crowd for His Holiness.
Walking around the city, you can tell that many people are excited for him to arrive. I’ve seen a lot Vatican flags flying throughout various neighborhoods, as well as many “We Welcome Pope Francis” posters throughout town. Even with all the excitement, some businesses will be closed during his visit. The ones that plan on remaining open have been letting people online know by using #OpenInPHL (which is also what they use on snow days to let people know they’re open). Some restaurants and bars even have Pope specials available this weekend for people who are in town.
Other people are less excited. One of the main reasons is “The Box.” What is that? It’s the area where you where you cannot park and/or drive while the Pope is here. Luckily, I live just south of where the traffic restrictions are in place. Penn is located within “The Box,” so campus is closed on Friday. The Philadelphia Public Schools are also closed on Thursday, Friday, and Monday due to his visit. You can kind of understand why parents may be a little irritated.
How will I be spending this weekend? I’m going to camp out on my couch and read. I’m not going to try to drive or go anywhere that I cannot walk to. Personally, it seems like too big of a headache for me to try and navigate the throngs of people. That and I don’t like massive crowds. But I wish the best of luck and a good time to those who will be heading out to catch a glimpse of the Pope!