5 U.S. Cities Pope Francis Should Visit
The pope is coming.
That's the word, anyway. There's no official confirmation (otherwise it'd be The Word), but recent reports have stated that Pope Francis may be planning his first papal visit to the United States. He'll likely attend the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015 with a possible stop in New York to address the United Nations.
Here's hoping the pontiff takes the opportunity to see a little more of the country during his visit. These five cities are good fits.
1. Silicon Valley, California
Pope Benedict XVI sent the first papal tweet in 2012, but Francis has called the Internet "a gift from God" and is a prolific Twitterer. @pontifex has accounts in nine languages with more than 12 million followers combined. A conversation with Bay Area tech gurus might help both sides learn new lessons about connecting with followers. #meetupofthecentury
2. St. Augustine, Florida
If Pope Francis wants to both lead Catholicism into the future and honor its past, he could accomplish the latter with a stop in St. Augustine. The nation's oldest city is also home to America's very first Catholic mission. In fact, this northeast Florida town of 13,000 will celebrate the 450th anniversary of its founding by a Catholic explorer in September of next year -- just in time for the Pope's rumored visit to United States.
3. Charleston, South Carolina
How could the Holy See not be comfortable in a place whose nickname is the Holy City?
Charleston earned that nickname in part because of the dozens of historic churches whose steeples mark the city's skyline. This top travel destination also a long history of religious tolerance, dating back to the 1700s when it welcomed immigrants suffering religious persecution.
4. Louisville, Kentucky
The pope's passion for compassion resonates in the Derby City, a two-time International Model City of Compassion. Francis could schedule a chat with humanitarian and Louisville native Muhammad Ali, and pay his respects to St. Magnus and St. Bonosa, two European martyrs whose bones are housed at St. Martin of Tours Church.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). The pontiff would find no shortage of either in Sin City, which has more churches per capita than any city in the United States.