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Pope pops up all over NY, Philly, Washington

/ 05:38 AM September 17, 2015
pope francis

Pope Francis. AP FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON—A welcome clothed in commerce and free enterprise awaits Pope Francis when he visits the United States next week, with pop-up images, a basilica made of Lego, a Pope-themed bread toaster and similar merchandise turning up all over the northeastern part of the United States.

The Pope is due at Washington on Sept. 22 before he heads to New York and Philadelphia.

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In Moscow, Pennsylvania, Fr. Bob Simon of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish is building a replica of St. Peter’s Basilica out of Lego blocks in honor of the papal visit.

Simon used half a million blocks to produce a scaled-down version of the Vatican City basilica and its adjoining colonnaded piazza.

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The work, which took six months to create, will be on show from Sept. 19 to Feb. 15 at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, near where Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families event.

A figurine will represent Simon in “contemplation” before the Vatican, which he has visited five times, according to the Franklin Institute.

For those who consider breakfast a religious experience, a “pope toaster” is now available which brands Francis’ image onto a slice of bread. The toaster can also print the words, “Spread the Love” as well as images of Philadelphia icons Ben Franklin or the Liberty Bell.

Billed the “best thing since sliced bread” the pope toaster will set you back about $50.

For young Catholics, there’s a cardboard cutout representing Pope Francis that has been cropping up all over Philadelphia, snapped in selfies by Catholic fans across the city.

The appearances of the “pop-up” pope can be followed on social media under the hashtag #popuppope or on the Twitter account @PopUpPope. The pop-up image was being used to evangelize and spread news about the real-life Francis’ visit, says the account.

24-hour Francis

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Die-hard Francis fans will be able to follow every minute of his trip, first to Cuba then to the United States, on at least two dedicated television stations.

On Sept. 20-27, cable provider Time Warner will provide 24-hour coverage of the Pope’s speeches, Masses and visits on a special “Papal Visit 2015” channel, also accessible online or through their TWC News app.

Its coverage is likely to be more secular than that of Catholic network EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), which will also carry live broadcasts, according to the network’s website.

The first Pontiff from the Americas will bless a 1.5-meter wooden cross known as the “Cross of the Encuentros” in Philadelphia on Sept. 26.

The cross symbolizes the spiritual journeys of US Latinos, according to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Hispanics account for nearly half of US Catholics.

Aretha Franklin

The papal visit gets its share of Hollywood glitter as well, with Aretha Franklin performing for the Pope at the World Meeting of Families event in Philadelphia.

The daughter of a Baptist minister, Franklin, 73, began her career singing gospel songs. Her first album “Songs of Faith” was recorded in her father’s church when she was 14.

Pope Francis, 78, is expected to give 28 speeches, including eight in Cuba and 18 in the United States.

Only four of those are expected to be in English, including his address to a joint session of the US Congress on Sept. 24. The next morning, he will give a speech in Spanish to the UN General Assembly.

Vice president’s neighbor

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has launched a website (papal511.com) to serve as a logistical hub about the Pontiff’s visit to Philadelphia, including how to avoid road closures and traffic. An estimated one to two million visitors are expected to descend on the city next weekend.

An upscale Washington neighborhood lined with embassies and the residence of US Vice President Joe Biden, gets the honor of having the Pope as its guest.

Famous for residing in a spartan bedroom rather than the opulent Papal Apartments in the Vatican, Francis will stay at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See’s embassy of sorts in the United States, according to the Washington Archdiocese. The building is across a tree-lined street from Biden’s official residence.
Originally posted as of 11:58 AM | Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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TAGS: Catholic, Church, Lego basilica, pop-up popes, Pope Francis, Religion, US
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