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Dear Pope Francis, will you please visit Detroit?

Sep 17, 2014

A student's letter in an effort to bring Pope Francis to Detroit.
Credit User: Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015 / facebook

The last time a pope visited Michigan was 27 years ago this very week. Pope John Paul spoke to crowds at Hart Plaza and Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, visited Hamtramck, and celebrated Mass for 90,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Word that Pope Francis is planning a visit to the United States has ignited a letter-writing and social media campaign called "Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015"

The spark of the campaign began at Cristo Rey High School in southwest Detroit. And the movement is drawing support from some big names, including Detroit's mayor and deputy mayor. 

Cristo Rey Principal Sue Rowe and Detroit Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon spoke to Stateside about their effort.

"The students felt that the city of Detroit could use the holiness that the pope could bring, and the pope could lead us, in a way, to move forward with Detroit," Rowe said.

Rowe explained that the campaign's goal is to get as much support as possible from Catholics, non-Catholics – everyone who likes the pope.

In terms of possible spending to pay for a papal visit, McKinnon says that would be the least of the concerns. In his view, the long-term effect of the pope's visit could be much greater than possible costs, and those who want the papal visit would likely chip in as well.

Rowe says the campaign started as a civic lesson for the kids. It taught them leadership and perseverance. 

"It'll change their lives, in a lot of ways, if he were to come to Detroit," Rowe said.

* Listen to our conversation with Sue Rowe and Ike McKinnon above.