~from Baltimore Sun
Pope Benedict XVI could visit the United Nations as soon as next year and, if the pontiff's schedule allows, Baltimore's archbishop has laid down the welcome mat for him at the Basilica of the Assumption.
"There's always been that hope that he could come to Baltimore," said Sean Caine, a spokesman for the Archdiocese Of Baltimore. "Up until now, it was more of a distant hope. Now that he's accepted an invitation to come to New York, people's interest has intensified a little bit. People feel like maybe they're one step closer."
Cardinal William H. Keeler said he has sent a written invitation asking the pope to make a Baltimore detour during his New York visit. Though dates and a specific itinerary have not been established, Catholic News Service has reported that a U.N. trip is likely to take place next year.
The trip would be the pope's first to North America since his election in 2005 and - if Baltimore is on his itinerary - his first opportunity to tour the Basilica of the Assumption, the first cathedral constructed within what became the United States.
Keeler also invited Pope Benedict to tour the new Our Daily Bread Employment Center, which will be dedicated this month.
"I have written to him, and I have asked that he stop by Baltimore and look at our rededicated basilica and also at Our Daily Bread, so that both of them fit into the story," Keeler said.