Sources from the Vatican have told CNN and the National Catholic Reporter that Pope Francis has intentions of visiting the U.S. next year.
According to the The Huffington Post, after Pope Benedict XVI declared Philadelphia to be the next city to host the World Meeting of Families last February and said he would attend, people have been speculating over whether or not his replacement, Francis, would go.
Though the meeting is an important international gathering for the Roman Catholic Church, the pope does not always attend. This will be the eighth session of the World Meeting of Families, which occurs every three years and was instituted in 1994.
Two senior Vatican officials said that Francis wants to attend the conference, the NCR said. The sources also said the visit was not set in stone since the conference is still 20 months away.
The Vatican has a tradition of not confirming visits until right before they are expected to transpire, according to the NCR.
Some also have wondered whether the pope might visit New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly, since it is typically scheduled to convene at that time of year.
Though many are looking forward to the possibility of a momentous visit, Francis could face some challenges with communication upon coming to the U.S.
"One of his challenges is that he doesn't speak as many languages as his predecessors," Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., told CNN. "Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict could come to the United States and quite easily speak in English. Pope Francis is not quite as comfortable or proficient in the language.
Despite such barriers, if Francis is able to come to Philadelphia, the sojourn may prove advantageous for both the Catholic Church and the city of Philadelphia.
"As far as I know, he's never visited the United States, and as shepherd of the universal church it will really be beneficial for him to have a greater understanding of the flock here, and for people here to get to know our Holy Father," Paprocki said.