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Pope Francis blesses a crowd from the window of his apartment at St Peter's Square on July 20. / Andreas Solaro, AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis will visit the USA for the first time next year, Catholic News Service reported Friday.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said the pontiff accepted his invitation to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on Sept. 22-27, 2015.

Speaking at the Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo, N.D., on Thursday, Chaput said the pontiff would be in Philadelphia on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that week, Catholic News Service reported.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Catholic News Service only that Pope Francis had expressed "his willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families."

Francis has received invitations to other U.S. cities, which he is considering, Lombardi said. Those invitations include New York and Washington, Catholic News Service reported.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia noted in a statement Friday that there has been no official confirmation by the Vatican of Pope Francis' attendance at the World of Meetings.

"We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event," the statement on the diocese's website said.

The trip would be Francis' first visit to the USA since becoming pope in March 2013. The previous pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, last visited the USA in 2008.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Report: Pope Francis to visit USA next year

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