Don’t expect Pope Francis to be making a “Lambeau Leap” anytime soon. Despite a petition drive launched by Green Bay’s mayor and others, officials with the Catholic Church says the pontiff is not currently scheduled to pay northeastern Wisconsin a visit when he comes to the United States in September.
The Pope will attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, along with stops in New York and Washington. Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese announced Wednesday that his schedule will not include a stop in the region. Diocese spokeswoman Justine Lodl said they were disappointed by the news, but offered “kudos” to those involved in the Pope to Green Bay initiative.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt had been leading the charge to get the Pope to visit, using the Shrine of our Lady of Good Help in Champion as a selling point, or the potential for a mass at Lambeau Field. The shrine is the only Marian apparition site in the US that’s approved by the Catholic Church.
Schmitt believes the city offers a unique opportunity for the Pope to visit the Midwest, and he still maintains it could eventually happen. He says the Pope has some “close friends in Peoria and Chicago, and maybe it’s one of those trips that we could attach to.”