More than 1.5 million people are expected to attend when Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Philadelphia in September.Security for the two-day papal visit to the city will be extremely high.Pope Francis loves walking among the adoring faithful.
Hundreds of thousands of young people slept under chilly skies in the white sand of Copacabana awaiting Pope Francis' final Mass for World Youth Day.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz) In March, on a visit to Naples, Italy, Pope Francis was swarmed by a group of nuns overly excited to see him.
In terms of security for the popular pontiff, the incident pales in comparison to the routine challenges to keeping the pontiff safe.
In 2013, Francis and his security detail found themselves in the middle of a mob scene in Copacabana Beach, Brazil, as tens of thousands of admirers swarmed the pope's motorcade, bringing the Fiat hatchback carrying the 78-year-old pontiff to a standstill.
In January, officials in the Philippines staged an historic security operation to safeguard the pontiff during his visit to Manila, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and police, some of them positioned on the altar as Francis celebrated Mass for six million.
The task now falls on officials in the United States who have been working for months drafting and implementing a security plan to keep one of the world's most popular men safe.
The security plan - which falls under the purview of the U. Homeland Security Department, with the Secret Service taking the lead - is taking into account every eventuality. But the model has proven to work in the past." PHOTO GALLERY: Papal visits to the U. over the years Francis will make his first visit to the U. in September, making stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
For an event expected to draw 2 million people, providing security for Francis during his Philadelphia stop would seem almost impossible. More than 1.5 million people are expected to attend when Francis celebrates Mass on Sunday, Sept.
"It's doable," said Robert Hoback, spokesman for the Secret Service. 27 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway outside the Philadelphia Art Museum.
The pontiff's visit has been designated a "national security special event," which differs from the designation given to visiting heads of state.
Homeland Security has to date given the so-called "NSSE" designation to 48 events, including Republican and Democratic national conventions, inaugurations and the Olympic Games.
The operation is veritable team effort: The Secret Service has been at work for months in partnership with dozens of federal, military, state and local entities, ranging from the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department and the city's mayor's office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania State Police, among dozens of others. The scope of the operations addresses everything from crowd control, crisis response, air-space safety, fire and life safety, hazardous materials response to terrorism threats on down to first aid and heat exhaustion. "Once it's designated a national special security event, everyone gets involved and all that knowledge and expertise, they bring that to the table.