Category Archives: Church Leadership

Cardinal DiNardo Elected USCCB President of U.S. Bishops, Archbishop Gomez Elected Vice President.

BALTIMORE—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during today’s annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore. Cardinal DiNardo has served as vice president of the USCCB since 2013. Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected as USCCB vice president.

Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez are elected to three-year terms and succeed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Cardinal DiNardo, respectively. The new president and vice president terms begin at the conclusion of the General Assembly on November 15.

Cardinal DiNardo was elected president on the first ballot with 113 votes. Archbishop Gomez was elected vice president on the third ballot by 131-84 in a runoff vote against Archbishop  Gregory Aymond of New Orleans.

The president and vice president are elected by a simple majority from a slate of 10 nominees. If no president or vice president is chosen after the second round of voting, a third ballot is a run-off between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.

Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977. He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop, of Galveston-Houston. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas. Archbishop Gomez was born December 26, 1951, in Monterrey, Mexico. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1978. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Denver in 2001, and in 2004, he was appointed archbishop of San Antonio. He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles in 2010, and was installed as archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011.

The bishops also chose the chairmen-elect of five committees and new members of the board of Catholic Relief Services, (CRS). The bishops elected are:

Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, chairman-elect of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance in a 111-89 vote over Bishop David M. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, chairman-elect of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in a 115-90 vote over Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California.

Bishop Robert E. Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, chairman-elect of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis in a 122-90 vote over Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services, chairman-elect of the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a 127-88 vote over Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego.

Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, chairman-elect of the Committee on Protection of Children and Young People in a 128-86 vote over Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington.

Each bishop elected will serve for one year as secretary-elect or chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term.

Bishops elected to the CRS board were: Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Gregory Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; and Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In November 2015, Archbishop Gomez was elected to chair the Committee on Migration for a term beginning this week. Since his election as USCCB vice-president prevents him from assuming leadership of the committee, the bishops will elect a new chairman at a later time.


Teamwork Innovation Comes to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

I find it interesting that they combined a stand alone workshop normally presented  to other sorts of organizations into a regular college course for Theology Students. It sounds like it worked out well. Maybe consideration needs to be given to integrating more of the outstanding training that is out there into our various levels of ministry training.-Pastor Crutchfield

PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Dr. Janice Presser explains the uses and value of Teamability® — a new technology that identifies teaming quality — in a ministry setting.

Dr. Janice Presser, co-founder and CEO of The Gabriel Institute, introduced new elements of teaming in an all-day seminar at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary at the Charlotte, NC, Campus.

Professors Dr. Rodney Cooper and Dr. Mark DeYmaz hosted Dr. Presser’s workshop, a portion of which was presented by GCTS Doctorate student, Rev. Darryl King. The attendees, all candidates for a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree, are enrolled in the course entitled “Redemptive Leadership & Organizational Development in the Multiethnic Context,” focused on informing, forming, and transforming in order to fulfill the spiritual calling.

Dr. Presser’s mission was to explain essential concepts of a completely new technology – called Teamability – which applies concepts from physics and systems theory to the study of teaming dynamics. It identifies a person’s ‘gift’ for making meaningful team contributions, and other qualities of positive teaming. Through integrated management methods and Self-coaching, Team Analysis, and ‘Teamability Playbook’ reports, this technology is producing operational benefits within a wide range of business and institutional organizations.

Workshop attendees had the opportunity to experience and learn Teamability in the context of their own ministries, ranging from a church planter with a congregation of 20, to a congregation of 18,000 members and staff in excess of 100.

The attendees hailed from locations around the United States including Massachusetts, South Carolina, Illinois and California.

For information from The Gabriel Institute, call TGI at 215.825.2500 or send an email to

Pioneering Episcopal priest, Joan Grimm Fraser dies at 68


( Religion News Service) The Rev. Joan P. Grimm Fraser, an Episcopal priest and leading spokesperson on women’s issues in church and society has died.

Mother Joan recently represented the Episcopal Church and the International Atlantic Province of the Episcopal Church on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The province includes six dioceses in New York, two dioceses in New Jersey and the off-shore dioceses of Haiti, the Virgin Islands and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. About the UNCSW she had said, “It is an opportunity to give a voice to women here and abroad who don’t have a voice” about health, poverty and justice.

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of Long Island, said, “Each of us will miss Joan’s great spirit and faithful, thoughtful counsel. She was a pioneer in our church and one of the wisest, most faithful priests I have ever known.”

There will be a Requiem Eucharist, Friday, May 27 at 11 am, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, NY. Bishop Provenzano will preside.

The Fraser family has provided the following biographical details.

The Reverend Joan P. Grimm Fraser, one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church, and a geologist, has died at the age of 68. Mother Joan, as she was known to parishioners at Holy Trinity Parish in Hicksville, NY where she served as rector since 2004, was admired throughout the Church as a kind and loving priest who blazed a trail for other women.

Born in Berea, Ohio in 1947, Fraser graduated from Allegheny College in 1969 with a B.S. Later that same year she entered the Episcopal Theological Seminary (ETS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts as the only woman in her class. She graduated with a Master’s of Divinity in 1973, and was the first woman ordained a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Ohio in 1973. She was the 33rd woman ordained a transitional deacon in the nation.

Mother Joan had been invited to be one of the women who came to be known as the “Philadelphia Eleven”, who were ordained in 1976 in “irregular” fashion prior to authorization by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for the ordination of women to the priesthood. However, continuing her lifelong practice of abiding faithfully by the decisions of her Church, and obeying her Bishop, Fraser declined to be one of the very first women ordained priest, and chose instead to serve as deacon at that historic mass.

She served as the Associate Chaplain at Kenyon College in Ohio from 1974-1976. She was the first woman formally approved by the Diocese of Ohio to be “regularly” ordained priest in 1977. Her deliberate care and intentionality led to her being the second woman ordained to the priesthood in Ohio. Many women throughout the U.S. were ordained in January of 1977, as soon as it was permitted within the Episcopal Church. Fraser had committed to being ordained priest in the Chapel at Kenyon at a time when the students could participate. That delay meant being ordained priest in March of 1977. Mother Joan was thus one of the first 50 women regularly ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. The Right Reverend John Burt ordained her both deacon and priest.

Following her ordination, it was nearly impossible for a woman priest to obtain paying work, let alone full-time paying work. After her ordination, at her Bishop’s urging, and with financial support from the Diocese of Ohio, Fraser obtained an M.S. in Geology from the University of Arizona in 1978.

She served full time as a petroleum geologist for Amoco Production Company from 1978-1985. Throughout her long and varied life in the church, Mother Joan frequently took lower paying, part-time or even non-paying jobs so as to be able to serve the church in an environment where women were not always considered desirable candidates for clergy positions. She was known for her cheerful disposition and her wise acceptance of the role she played as a trailblazer for others. She told many younger clergy she mentored that it was her delight to serve as a “doorknob” for other women participating in the life and ministry of the church.

Throughout her long career Fraser served parishes in Ohio, Colorado (where she was the first full-time, fully-stipended female priest), North Carolina, Western Massachusetts (where she served as Canon at Christ Cathedral), New York City, and Long Island. She was appointed by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to be the 2015 Anglican Delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Mother Joan married Ross Fraser, Director of Planning at the Nassau University Medical Center, in 1979. Her husband Ross survives her, along with six godchildren, countless cousins, and many other family and friends. Among her friends and family, she was known as a gracious, wonderful hostess, cook and artist. At the time of her death, complex negotiations were being carried out for the sharing of her secret chocolate sauce recipe. In addition to her many other accomplishments she obtained a BFA in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1999.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society for the benefit of the Joan Grimm Fraser UNCSW Legacy Fund, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

Majority of Pastors Suffer in Silence Over Financial Challenges

Barna recently did a similar study in their case focused on Church planters. They came to many of the same conclusions. Pastoral stress is a real issue, that we in the church world will have to develop solid practical answers to. The answers we have obviously aren’t working like we need them to. -Pastor Crutchfield

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Research released from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) this week shows that the majority of evangelical pastors in the United States serve in small churches with significant personal financial challenges. Pastors also report that they are not familiar with resources to help them and do not confide in anyone outside their household about financial stress.

“The vast majority of pastors do not have their own radio or TV show, robust church staff, or megachurch attendance,” said Leith Anderson, NAE president. “Rather they faithfully serve in small churches and face financial challenges stemming from student debt, low salaries and medical expenses. And sadly, they often feel they have no one to turn to for help.”

The poll, conducted by Grey Matter Research in July 2015, found that of the 4,249 pastors surveyed 80 percent serve in congregations with fewer than 200 people, and 55 percent have fewer than 100 people in their church. Half of the pastors serve in churches with annual budgets under $125,000 that must cover the cost of the church facilities, programs and pastor/staff payroll. Fifty percent of pastors receive less than $50,000 per year in compensation with 30 percent having student loan debt averaging $36,000.

Many pastors also struggle to secure long-term financial stability. Thirty-three percent have under $10,000 in retirement funds. Twenty-nine percent have $0 in personal savings.

Over 85 percent of pastors said they did not receive financial training from their seminary. Many pastors (37 percent) are not familiar with what resources their denomination offers for personal finances. Over a third of pastors said they have no one outside their household in whom they can confide about the things that stress them financially.

This spring, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., the NAE launched a multiyear initiative to address economic challenges facing pastors. The initiative will focus on connecting and resourcing denominations, churches and pastors in the area of pastor finances.

Download the full report at

The mission of the National Association of Evangelicals is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelical Christians. The NAE includes more than 45,000 churches from nearly 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions. Founded in 1942, the NAE is currently led by President Leith Anderson.

Follow the NAE at

Preaching as an Act of Listening

By Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder and Editor FaithInspires.Org

Most of the time when we think of preaching, we think of speaking and of course it is. I also am blessed to have been gifted by God with a strong speaking voice, and  a quick mind which greatly enables that gift. What amazes me is how much listening can go into great preaching.

When I preach it rarely turns out exactly the way I wrote it. As I am preaching the Holy Spirit nearly always adds to what I have to say. Its not unusual for me to step out of the pulpit thinking, ” Boy I wish I had thought of that parable, or verse or illustration when I was writing today’s sermon !”

Several people have even commented that they can see much of  a prophetic nature to my sermons. They could be  right. What I do now that we probably all should more often seek the Holy Spirit as the co-author of our messages. How do I know that it is the Holy Spirit at work at such times ? Simply, that nothing short of the spirit of God would work so hard, and so directly to advance HIS purposes.

So how do we add this power to our sermons ? Unfortunately I don’t think this can be completely taught. There is very much a metaphysical aspect  to this kind of preaching. Prayer of course is as always a good start. Prayer that the Holy Spirit fills us to overflowing, especially when we are preaching. Prayer that our minds will be open to the Spirit’s leading when it is there. Prayer that we will properly interpret what God is trying to tell us through his spirit.

Perhaps most importantly we have to open our hearts and our earthbound minds to the possibility of preaching this way. We also as in inquiring many other skills must be willing to practice this type of preaching before attempting it in front of  a”live” congregation. It also is  a type of preaching which requires a great deal of trust in God. So it requires a degree of Christian maturity that allows a preacher to let go of himself and his abilities, and truly turn his message over to God. Then again if we are truly preaching as we should isn’t it actually God’s message to begin with ?


Anglican Communion Leaders Suspend Episcopal Church

“This sanction is the ecclesiastical equivalent of being placed in ‘time out.'” — IRD Anglican Program Director Jeff Walton

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Top bishops in the Anglican Communion have voted to suspend the U.S.-based Episcopal Church from full participation in the worldwide family of churches historically descended from the Church of England. The suspension will last for three years; enough time for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention to address the matter at the denomination’s next governing General Convention in 2018.

The gathering of leaders (known as ‘primates’) from 38 Anglican Communion provinces, including Anglican Church in North America Archbishop Foley Beach, was convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to discuss pressing issues facing the third largest family of Christian churches.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been riven by discord since the U.S.-based Episcopal Church consecrated an openly partnered homosexual man as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. The consecration brought to the forefront long-simmering disagreements about scriptural authority and resulted in impaired communion between the Episcopal Church and more traditionalist provinces located primarily in the Global South.

IRD Anglican Program Director Jeff Walton commented:

“This sanction is the ecclesiastical equivalent of being placed in ‘time out.’ But the goal of ‘time out’ is to change behavior, and the Episcopal Church has clearly spoken that it will not deviate from its chosen trajectory.

“There will be no formal schism, but primates will continue — as they have since 2003 — refusing to take the Holy Eucharist with their fellow bishops due to the ‘impaired’ or ‘broken communion’ between their provinces and the Episcopal Church.

“The primates who have taken this step have cited three reasons for doing so: the lack of reconciliation between the Episcopal Church and their provinces, obedience to Scripture, and the admonitions of the Book of Common Prayer. For them it’s a question of faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

“The other major development from the Canterbury gathering is the seating of Archbishop Foley Beach among the primates as an equal with voice and vote. From the primates’ perspective, the Anglican Church in North America is now a de-facto province of the Anglican Communion.”

Archdiocese of Chicago Names Mary Ann Hynes General Counsel


CHICAGO, Jan. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced the appointment of Mary Ann Hynes as its general counsel. Ms. Hynes was the first female general counsel of a Fortune 500 company and has most recently been senior counsel at the Chicago office of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm by number of lawyers.

Mary Ann brings enormous experience and a solid record of high performance that has won her the admiration of her colleagues and community leaders,” said Archbishop Blase J. Cupich. “We welcome her to our team and look forward to the contribution she will make to our mission.”

Ms. Hynes, who joined Dentons in 2013 is a governance and compliance expert with more than 20 years of service on the boards of Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations. She is a seasoned strategist with extensive mergers and acquisitions and integration experience and a focus on mining, high tech aerospace and industrial products, commodity-based manufacturing and media /software companies. She worked for seven years at Ingredion, Inc., (formerly Corn Products International), as a senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer. Ms. Hynes began her career and spent 25 years at CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, rising to the rank of vice president and general counsel.

She serves on the Board of Trustees for the John Marshall Law School and is a board member of the Dr. Scholl Foundation. She served as a member of the Advisory Manufacturing Council to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She has also served as a member of the boards of directors for GHD Pty Ltd, IMC Global Affiliates, Rafhan Maize and other subsidiaries of Ingredion, Inc. and its predecessor companies.

Ms. Hynes, a native of Chicago, holds a BA degree from Loyola University, an MBA from the Lake Forest School of Management and JD and LLM degrees from the John Marshall Law School.

Christians Honoring their Pastors’ Relevancy this Christmas through Gratitude Award

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 9, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month feeling burnout, irrelevancy… North Central Theological Seminary has aligned with Favorfloat Corporation to encourage Christians to honor, appreciate, and show gratitude to their pastors this Christmas through the Gratitude Award, instead of just sending Christmas greeting cards with pre-written messages that don’t come from the heart.
“Why do you think pastors often say, ‘Somebody say amen!’ when they preach?” asked Dr. Jay. “They want to feel heard and appreciated,” he answered. According to the New York Times (August 1, 2010), “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen.” Dr. Jay continues, “Listed below is what your pastor may be feeling that you may not know.”
·         75% of pastors report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.

·         45% say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.

·         57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.

·         70% don’t have any close friends.

·         80% say they have insufficient time with their spouse.

·         90% work more than 50 hours a week.

·         94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.

·         56% of pastors’ wives say that they have no close friends.

·         1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
In response, North Central Theological Seminary has, on behalf of its students and all Christians in general, paid Favorfloat Corporation to grant free access for Christians to issue, as seen on television, their registered trademark Gratitude Award® (five star gold status, pdf), emailed for them to print out, frame, and give to their pastors, pastors’ wives, or pastoral staff members this Christmas for all they meant for them or their family in 2015. To do so, North Central Seminary has provided this special link:
“Christmas is the most joyful time, but perhaps also the most lonely and depressing time for so many pastors and Christians,” said Dr. Jay, who is also encouraging people to remember to honor those few special people who’ve made a huge difference in your life – wife, husband, brother, sister, other family members, coworkers or your boss. “They may be feeling unappreciated and depressed this year. Your Gratitude Award may be all it takes to lift their spirit this season,” concluded Dr. Jay.
Only honoring your pastor is free. Charges apply for those honoring others at:

Church Staffing Firm Vanderbloemen Search Group Ranked No. 1 On Inaugural Top Company Cultures List Presented By Entrepreneur And CultureIQ

Interesting that a Christian company, that serves churches comes out on top of  a list dominated by secular companies, that was compiled by a secular magazine. Who says Christian companies, churches, and groups can’t compete in the secular world. This story proves they can !-Pastor Crutchfield

HOUSTON, Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Vanderbloemen Search Group was recently ranked No. 1 in the small enterprise category on Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures created in partnership with culture management software and service provider CultureIQ®. Vanderbloemen Search Group, a pastor search firm that helps churches and ministries find their key staff, is recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations and directly impacts company success.

“We’re honored to be seen as a leading model in inspiring company culture, as our values and recognition extends from the integrity founded in nine total pillars and the day-to-day operations fused into the cultural backbone of our executive search practice,” said William Vanderbloemen, CEO/Founder of Vanderbloemen Search Group. “The happiness and hard work from our employees creates a positive and synergistic relationship for the company that continues to reside at the center of running a successful business.”

“Creating an entrepreneurial culture is a key priority for business leaders, yet no one until now has really assessed the role culture plays in success,” says Ray Hennessey, editorial director of “This ranking celebrates the dedication that all teams, from entry-level to the C-suite, have in ensuring they are creating vibrant, healthy and sustainable work environments. That’s good for employees, investors and customers.”

The full list, presenting a total of 75 companies categorized as small, medium or large enterprises—25-49 employees, 50-99 employees and more than 100 employees— is available on Core insights, behaviors and attributes that have helped to shape the high-performing cultures presented by the top companies are shared alongside practices to help other companies work on their own workplace environments.

“There is always an opportunity to learn from each other when running and growing a business, which is why we are excited to honor these companies and share their success in building an effective culture,” says CultureIQ founder and CEO Greg Besner. “I find it particularly inspiring to see a wide variety of companies represented in the list, confirming that you can have a strong culture regardless of industry, size, or business maturity.”

The rankings for all companies were determined using CultureIQ’s methodology for measuring high-performance cultures. Employees at each company received a survey of 21 short, multiple-choice questions. The answers were used to assess a company’s strength across 10 core qualities of culture – performance focus, support and innovation, to name a few. These quality strength scores were combined with the employee Net Promoter Score to create a cumulative CultureIQ Score. The companies with the highest CultureIQ Scores became the Top Company Culture list in ranking order. To be considered for the ranking, a company must have at least 25 employees, have been founded before Jan. 1, 2014 and be headquartered in the U.S.

To view Vanderbloemen Search Group in the full ranking, visit

Based out of Houston, Texas, Vanderbloemen Search Group is the premier full-service, pastoral search firm dedicated to helping churches, ministries and faith-based organizations around the world of every size find their key staff. The firm, has worked with over 60 different denominations of churches and ministries around the world, and has helped place pastoral staff in the fastest-growing churches according to the Outreach 100 over the past two years, provides consulting services customized for each client’s staff structure, long-term and emergency succession planning, and thorough compensation analyses.

SOURCE Vanderbloemen Search Group

Philadelphia Urges Vistors and Locals Alike to Book Hotel rooms for Papal Visit.

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — With Pope Francis’ visit and the Francis Festival just two weeks away (September 26 and 27), Philadelphia is ready to welcome locals and visitors to enjoy this once-in-a-generation event. To experience it in the most comfortable and convenient way possible, city officials and hospitality leaders are encouraging everyone to book a long weekend stay in a Center City hotel. As an added benefit and to encourage return visitation, those checking into city hotels on Friday or Saturday will receive two free tickets to the One Liberty Observation Deck, opening in November. Hotels are bookable at

(Note: The city will conduct business as usual Monday through Friday, September 21-25 during the World Meeting of Families Congress. Hotel rooms are available, and transportation will run normally.)

The Experience:

The entire Philadelphia region is celebrating Pope Francis’ visit, and here are some of the many reasons locals and visitors won’t want to miss out on the celebration:

  • Papal Appearances, September 26-27: Visitors to Philadelphia will find plenty of opportunities to see Pope Francis and hear his inspiring message—including on 40 Jumbotrons, which will stream all papal events. Key public moments include:
    • Saturday, September 26:
      • An address by Pope Francis at Independence Hall, 4:45 p.m. (free tickets required, but no longer available; viewable on Jumbotrons)
      • Papal parade along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Eakins Oval to and around City Hall, time TBD (tickets not necessary)
      • Festival of Families, featuring Andrea Bocelli, Juanes, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Pope Francis himself, 7:30 p.m. (free tickets for certain areas required, but no longer available; not necessary for areas from
        20th Street to City Hall and beyond)
    • Sunday, September 27:
      • Papal parade; route and time TBD (tickets not necessary)
      • Public mass celebrated by Pope Francis in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 4:00 p.m. (free tickets for certain areas required, but no longer available; not necessary for areas from 20th Street to City Hall and beyond)
  • The Francis Festival, September 26-27: Running from South Street to Girard Avenue and from the Delaware River to 38th Street, this weekend-long, Philly-style block party features affordable food, drinks and souvenirs, along with free entertainment and Jumbotrons for an up-close look at all of the papal happenings. Plus, it’s a pedestrian-friendly affair.
  • Special Events & Exhibits, All Week Long: Museums and attractions are hosting all sorts of special happenings in celebration of the pope’s visit. Just a sampling: Religious Liberty and the Founding of America at the National Constitution Center, Vatican Splendors at The Franklin Institute, Verbum Domini II: God’s Word Goes Out to the Nations (free exhibit) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Catholics in the New World: A Selection of 16th-18th Century Texts at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia, among many, many others.
  • Food & Drink Specials, All Week Long: The pope’s visit gives restaurants and bars the opportunity to get creative with their menus, and that’s exactly what they’ve done with items like the Il Papa pie (a Neapolitan-style pizza with Black Mission figs, mozzarella, lardo and Pecorino Toscano, oregano and fresh basil) from Pizzeria Vetri, the Pope Dog (chorizo sausage, chimichurri and pickled red onion salad) from Underdogs and Holy Wooder Belgian-style Tripel beer from Philadelphia Brewing Company.

Why Book A Hotel Room:

Staying in a hotel for the long weekend is the most comfortable and convenient way to experience the Francis Festival and papal visit. Those staying in Center City will enjoy easy walks to all papal events and throughout the festival grounds.

There are plenty of first-class hotel rooms available in Philadelphia, including many within the Francis Festival grounds, and most hotels do not require a minimum-night stay. As an incentive to return to Philadelphia, all visitors checking into a hotel on Friday or Saturday will receive two tickets to the city’s newest attraction, the One Liberty Observation Deck, opening in November. Tickets are redeemable from January 1 through March 31, 2016.

In addition, many hotels are offering fun papal perks for those booking rooms. The Inn at Penn, for example, is providing guests with SEPTA tokens and a “Pope Pack” containing Philadelphia-inspired snack items to take with them on their pilgrimage to the papal events.

To book a hotel stay, go to

Getting Here & Getting Around:

Getting to and around Philadelphia will operate as it normally does from Monday through Thursday, with restrictions and road closures beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 and increasing on Friday. By Friday night, public transportation will be the best option for getting into the city. Once inside Center City, walking and biking are ideal for getting around.

  • Airlines: Reporting availability, with SEPTA’s Airport Line running to and from Philadelphia International Airport throughout the weekend.
  • Amtrak: Tickets still available and required for the weekend of the papal visit; no on-board ticket purchases permitted.
  • Highways/Bridges: Closed beginning on Friday, September 25: the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95; I-76 westbound from I-95 to U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Extension); I-676 in both directions from I-76 to I-95; and U.S. Route 1 in both directions from U.S. 30 to Belmont Avenue
  • SEPTA: Special regional rail passes available, with trains picking up passengers at a limited number of stations; the subway, elevated train, buses and trolley buses also operating on a special schedule, with tokens, transfers and passes accepted and a three-day pass available.
  • New Jersey Transit: Modified schedule on the Atlantic City Rail Line and River Line; special tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • PATCO: Non-stop service to Center City during the papal weekend, with pickups available at four New Jersey Stations; tickets must be purchased in advance.
  • Taxis/Uber: Servicing the Francis Festival grounds until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday and resuming at 3:00 a.m. on Monday.

Key Resources:

Plenty of resources are available for those planning their visits to Philadelphia for this historic week:

Online Resources:

  • Go-to place for information about the congress schedule, papal visit, World Meeting of Families history and the Papal Visit Playbook, a how-to guide for Philly residents
  • Go Philadelphia! App: App featuring information about regional attractions and the family-friendly events, activities and exhibitions taking place between September 18 and 29. Available for Apple and Android devices. 
  • The place for information about road closures, secure perimeters and business resources
  •, featuring Visitor-focused site with comprehensive coverage of the WMOF and papal events, accommodations, transportation, what’s opened and closed and more
  • Insider blog focusing on what to do today, tomorrow and this weekend
  • and Downloadable guides to the city available in multiple languages

In-person Resources:

  • Independence Visitor Center, (See site for weekend hours)
    • Main location, 6th & Market Streets
    • Sister Cities Park, 200 N. 18th Street
    • Fairmount Park Welcome Center, 1599 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
    • City Hall Visitor Center, Broad & Market Streets, Room 121
    • Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1102 Arch Street