For two days in September, Pope Francis will take center stage on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
On regular days, however, the Parkway is where from 75 to 125 homeless people live. And for many others who are destitute, it is where they receive free daily meals.
What will happen to those people when the pope's historic visit attracts an estimated 1.5 million visitors to the city and a security clampdown akin to that required for the Super Bowl?
A committee created by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in October has been meeting regularly to address how the pope's visit will affect the homeless.
"Right now, the archbishop wants to make sure that the rights of people that are homeless and their needs are given a priority," Sister Mary Scullion, president and executive director of the anti-homelessness nonprofit Project HOME, said Wednesday.
The pope is scheduled to appear on the Parkway for a faith festival Saturday, Sept. 26, and to say Mass the next day.
The Parkway will be turned into a high-level security zone, and anybody entering for either event will be screened, Scullion said. Before each event, the zone will be cleared of people, meaning no one will be sleeping overnight along the Parkway.
Homeless people will have to move temporarily to alternative locations, but "there will be no attempt to hide the homeless or pretend we don't have these issues," Scullion said.
The daily routine of providing free meals also will be disrupted. Some providers could be selected to offer meals somewhere not far from the Parkway. There also is talk of offering vouchers to people who can redeem them at licensed food vendors inside the security zone.
Scullion vowed that "people who are hungry will be fed before, during, and after the pope's visit."
Some of the homeless who gather on the Parkway are concerned that they will be swept up and moved, said Adam Bruckner, a nondenominational Christian minister who founded Philly Restart, which provides food to the homeless.
"There's been an undercurrent of talk that the homeless will be totally frozen out," Bruckner said, "with no way for them to be fed."
Cranford Coulter, founder and director of King's Jubilee, a Souderton homeless ministry, expressed confidence that food would get served.
"People are getting nervous, but I tell them, if there's too much activity for them to be served on the Parkway, we'll all go to a different part of the city and serve there," said Coulter, who coordinates agencies that feed the homeless. "It's not a problem."
He said he expected that the crowds coming to see the pope would be generous with the homeless.
"They will share food with the homeless, and won't be unfriendly," he said. "I just don't see it."
Violet Little, pastor of Welcome Church, an organization without walls that has a homeless congregation on the Parkway, said the "last thing this pope would want is for the hungry and homeless not to hear him."