Pope Francis arrived Saturday in Philadelphia, where the pontiff was expected to attend the Festival of Families, an event celebrating family, community and faith that is part of the larger World Meeting of Families conference. A live stream of the event will be available here.
The event, which also is expected to be live-streamed in Spanish, describes itself as a “joyful, global celebration of support and love” that will feature musical performances from celebrities and cultural groups. More than 1 million people were expected to attend the festival. Performances along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday and the festival runs until 11 p.m.
Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, known for his roles in “The Departed” and “The Fighter,” will serve as the host for the festival. Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" and 18-time Grammy winner, was scheduled to perform for the pope. Other celebrities who were slated to appear at the festival include Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli, Colombian musician Juanes, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the band the Fray, singer-songwriter Marie Miller, comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan, singer Jackie Evancho and the group Sister Sledge.
“When we first envisioned the Festival of Families, we could have never anticipated such an extraordinary lineup of talent would be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families.
The pope also was scheduled to meet with six families from different continents during the festival and hear about their “joys and challenges.”
The Festival of Families comes toward the end of the pope’s visit. Sunday morning in Philadelphia, the pope was scheduled to meet with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel followed by a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. At 4 p.m. the pope was scheduled to celebrate Mass for the World Meeting of Families. That evening at 8 p.m. the pope is scheduled to fly back home to Rome.