You have no doubt read, heard, seen or retweeted that Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families are coming to Philadelphia, starting on September 21, 2015. And, despite the incredibly positive significance of this event, recent media coverage has treated the events like a mid-February snowstorm warning – stay home, shelter in place, stock up on food, medicine and water.
As vice chair of the WMOF Communications and Marketing Committee, I have had a front row seat in the planning for the events. Lost in the most recent pre-planning hand-wringing is what an immense honor and how exciting this occasion will be for our entire region. Remember, Philadelphia was chosen. Unlike the bid for the Olympics, the Republican National Convention in 2000 or the Democratic National Convention in 2016, we didn’t have to submit our city’s credentials. Our city and region spoke for itself. This alone shows how far we have come. Our hotels, restaurants, tourism destinations and outdoor amenities were the draw. Our reputation now reaches worldwide, and we now get to execute on the international stage. This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Let me say that again – This ISa once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yes, there will be some inconveniences during the Pope’s visit, but with the thoughtful planning in place, the advantages far outweigh these concerns.
Please excuse the personal plug but I am particularly proud that a number of our D+P team members have chosen to engage with this once-in-a-lifetime event by volunteering to assist some of the 7,000 members of the media who will pour into Philadelphia. Knowing that a positive experience here will only serve to improve the city’s reputation for years to come, they are excited to represent the region and have a front row seat to this historic moment. So, let’s welcome the world, and remember to stay positive. This is our moment.