Posted September 15, 2015

FAQ: How Temple is responding to Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia

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Temple University and the city of Philadelphia prepare for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Philadelphia.

Last updated: Sept. 23, 2015

What and when is the World Meeting of Families Congress and papal visit?

The World Meeting of Families Congress, the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families from 150 countries, comes to Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to 25. Pope Francis visits the city Saturday, Sept., 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27. Click here for the full papal itinerary.

His itinerary includes a speech at Independence Mall and an appearance at the World Meeting of Families celebration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday and a public Mass, also on the parkway, on Sunday.

Why is the World Meeting of Families and papal visit significant for Temple?

City officials expect more than 1.5 million people for the papal visit, particularly the Mass on Sunday, Sept. 27. Mayor Michael A. Nutter has projected this to be the largest event in Philadelphia’s history. With such a large influx of visitors, there is likely to be significant pressure on local infrastructure, and transportation in and around the region will be very difficult.

Will Main Campus be open?

Temple University’s U.S. campuses will be closed Friday, Sept. 25. Over the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, Temple will maintain regular weekend hours for many operations. Administrative and academic buildings will be open as usual or accessible via TUid swipe access.

Additionally, all of Temple’s U.S. campuses except Harrisburg will open and classes will start at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. Temple’s Harrisburg campus is unaffected and will operate normally on Monday.

What will be open on Main Campus the weekend of the papal visit?

Residence halls and food services will continue to operate as normal.

The TECH Center, Paley Library and Campus Recreation will be open during the weekend. The Computer Services Help Desk will also be staffed.

Tuttleman Counseling Services will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Student Health Services will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Campus Recreation hours are as follows:

Friday, Sept. 25: IBC Student Recreation Center: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls third-floor courts: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls pool 30: 6:30a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26: IBC Student Recreation Center: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls third-floor courts: noon to 8 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls pool 30: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 27: IBC Student Recreation Center: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls third-floor courts: noon to 8 p.m.; Pearson and McGonigle halls pool 30: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Student Center, including the Game Room, will be open normal hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with free evening movie showings. The Valaida S. Walker Food Court and bookstore will be closed.

The Starbucks in the TECH Center will be open Friday, Sept. 25, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Campus Safety Services, Operations, Facilities Management and other staff will be on duty and working to ensure the safety and comfort of the Temple community.

How will Temple’s Center City campuses—TUCC and the School of Podiatric Medicine—be affected?

Temple University’s Center City campus (TUCC) will operate normally during the week of Sept. 21, except it will be closed on Friday, Sept. 25. Access to TUCC will be restricted on Saturday and Sunday. The School of Podiatric Medicine will also be closed that weekend.

How will the Health Sciences Campus be affected?

Temple University is coordinating with the Health System in planning to ensure uninterrupted access to care.  At the Health Sciences Center, the Student Faculty Center, including the recreation center, will be open Friday, Sept. 25, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The bookstore will be closed. On Saturday and Sunday, it will be used by Temple University Health System. The center will resume normal operations Monday, Sept. 28.

The food court in the School of Medicine will be open Friday, Sept. 25, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

How is the Ambler campus affected?

The main parking lot (Lot 1) on Meetinghouse Road may be used for SEPTA Regional Rail parking. Anyone needing to access the campus will be able to park in the Learning Center parking lot. Note that shuttles between Main Campus and Ambler do not run on weekends.

May I have guests in my residence hall?

The guest policy for each residence hall will remain the same the weekend of the pope’s visit. See the Guest Privileges (page 10) section of University Housing and Residential Life’s Undergraduate Rights, Responsibilities and Resource Guide. Guest Privileges appear on page 6 of the Graduate Resource Guide.

What will be the effect on travel?

Traveling in and around the city will be challenging amid the large influx of visitors. Finding parking in Center City will also be very difficult. Expect road closures, changes to public transportation service schedules and higher volume on all modes of transportation. At present, road closures include portions of I‒76, I‒676, Route 1, Center City exits off I‒95, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

What will be the effect on parking?

Essential personnel working Friday, Sept. 25, Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, will be assigned to the Bell Garage (11th Street between Montgomery Avenue and Berks Street). Supervisors of all essential personnel must notify the Office of Parking Services by Monday, Sept. 21, at, of the number of spots required and the names of the individuals parking.

Students will be contacted and reassigned to the Montgomery Garage (11th Street between Montgomery Avenue and Berks Street) from Friday, Sept. 25, through Monday, Sept. 28. Exceptions will be made for students with disabilities who need to leave their vehicles in the Liacouras Garage. 

Any student, faculty or staff member who wishes to utilize parking at Temple on Saturday, Sept. 26, or Sunday, Sept. 27, must make advance arrangements with the Office of Parking Services by Monday, Sept. 21. There is limited capacity, and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Students, faculty or staff without advance reservations will not be permitted to park over the weekend. Contact to reserve a spot. Please be advised that your parking credential or pass may not be transferred to another individual.

Relief will be available to students, faculty and staff who reside within the designated security zones in Center City but do not have parking assignments on Temple’s campuses. Parking will be available for a prepaid rate of $17 per day in the Montgomery Garage. Preregistration will be required, and you must have a valid Temple ID to reserve a spot. Visit the Office of Parking Services on the first floor of the Montgomery Garage or online at TU Parking Account. Directions for online registration can be found at

How will public transportation be affected?

Public transportation will be operating on special schedules during the weekend, and the SEPTA Regional Rail station at Temple will be closed. Special papal passes are required for travel on regional rail, and only a limited number of regional rail stations will be open.

On the Broad Street subway line, current plans call for local service to be available at the Cecil B. Moore station near Main Campus and at the Erie station near the Health Sciences Center campus. Regular SEPTA tokens and transpasses can be used over the weekend. Bus lines will be on detours due to street closures. Expect very high volume on public transportation.

Visit the SEPTA and PATCO websites for updated service and fare information.

How will shuttle service be affected?

The Owl Loop and TUr Door shuttles will operate on regular schedules. The Owl Loop provides service around Main Campus, running continuous circuits of a regular route about once every 30 minutes. Passengers may flag down a bus anywhere along its route. The service operates from 5:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days per week.

TUr Door transports students directly to their off-campus residences. These buses are stationed at the transportation hub at 12th Street and Polett Walk near Paley Library. TUr Door runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days per week.

On Monday, Sept. 28, shuttle service between Main Campus, HSC and Ambler will begin at Main Campus (12th Street and Polett Walk) at 11:45 a.m., arriving at the Ambler Campus Learning Center parking lot at 12:35 p.m.

The Ambler shuttle (Learning Center parking lot) will start at 12 p.m. Monday and arrive at Main Campus at 12:50 p.m.

Shuttle operations from Main Campus (Broad Street and Polett Walk) to TASB will begin Monday at 12:30 p.m.

The Main Campus-HSC-Ambler shuttles will not run Friday through Sunday.

Will phone service or Internet capacity be affected?

Temple’s TUsecurewireless network and the university’s phone system are expected to be fully functional during these events. Wireless networks have been working to increase their systems to handle demand. Check with your wireless carrier for more information.

How does the papal visit affect employees?

All employees are encouraged to follow local news coverage to stay informed about the latest developments related to transportation and estimated commute times. Essential personnel should discuss scheduling with their supervisors.

Will the Owl Loop and TUr Door shuttles be running?

Shuttles will operate on their normal schedules. Shuttle service, however, may be delayed by a large volume of vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic. For more information on shuttle services, visit the Construction, Facilities and Operations website.

Will there be events on campus before and during the papal visit?

Yes. There are a variety of events being planned. Here is a list of nine such events, including a barbecue for students at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, in the Founder’s Garden.

Softball games on Geasey Field will precede the president’s barbecue. Campus Recreation will provide equipment and staff for any students or employees interested in playing softball on Saturday, Sept. 26. The Campus Recreation staff will organize and umpire games on two fields between noon and 4 p.m.

Will UPS deliveries be affected?

UPS pickups and deliveries may not be available after 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, and Friday, Sept. 25. There will be no pickups or deliveries on Saturday, Sept. 26. Due to expected traffic congestion, pickups may occur earlier or later than normal schedules.

Is this information subject to change?

Information is changing daily. We will closely monitor developments and continue to assess Temple’s operational and personnel needs as we share in the excitement of showcasing Philadelphia on a world stage.

Where can I find more information?

The World Meeting of Families website provides detailed information about the week’s schedule of events, including the Papal Visit Playbook, which is specifically designed to help Philadelphia-area residents in their preparation. has also published Papal visit: Frequently asked questions.