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Pope Francis Tells NBC News He'll Pay Philadelphia a Visit

NBC's Anne Thompson spoke to the pope in Italian on Thursday as the pontiff flew to Asia.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

Pope Francis told NBC News he will be paying a visit to the city of brotherly love. NBC's Anne Thompson spoke to the pope in Italian as the pontiff flew to Asia for his first-ever trip. Thompson asked, in Italian, if the pope would travel to Philadelphia at any point.

"Si," replied Francis, going on to mentioned the city's World Family Day, due to take place in September 2015. The Vatican typically does not announce Papal Trips more than six months in advance. Past remarks made by the pope about travel plans, however, have proved to play out. The pontiff said in July 2013 that he wanted to go to Asia - which is exactly where he landed on Thursday. The pope is visiting Seoul for five days and has upcoming plans to travel to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The pope traveled to Seoul with around 65 journalists, greeting each one personally as they climbed aboard Alitalia Flight 4000. While the pope set separately, Thompson and her fellow journalists enjoyed a hearty meal of cannelloni with mint-scented ricotta and filet of beef.

While Philadelphia may play up its name as the city of brotherly love when the pope travels there, the pontiff's arrival in Asia on Thursday wasn't met warmly all around. North Korea – which has a long history of making sure it is not forgotten during high-profile events in the South - fired five rockets into the sea as Francis arrived in Seoul. In his first speech of the trip, Pope Francis urged renewed efforts to forge peace on the war-divided Korean Peninsula and for both sides to avoid "fruitless" criticisms and shows of force.



- Anne Thompson and Clare Duffy