Pope Francis gets invitation to visit Montreal in 2017

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has personally invited Pope Francis to visit Montreal in 2017 to take part in the city's 375th anniversary celebrations.

Denis Coderre sent letter to Pope Francis underlining Montreal's history with Catholic Church

Pope Francis, second left, shares a word with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, right, during his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has personally invited Pope Francis to visit Montreal in 2017 to take part in the city's 375th anniversary celebrations.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre (centre) visited the Vatican this week. He is pictured here with Cardinal Gérald Lacroix (right) and Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine (left). (Denis Coderre's Twitter page)

In the two-and-a-half-page letter, Coderre described Montreal as a city with undeniably strong ties to the Catholic Church. He referenced the cross on top of Mount Royal, St. Joseph's Oratory and the city's many churches as symbols of these ties.

Coderre also wrote that while he would like to believe there is a certain level of cultural harmony in Montreal, he is personally concerned with poverty, homelessness and social integration for new immigrants as well as for Canada's aboriginal people.

Coderre told Pope Francis in the letter that he believed his presence and message of love, tolerance and peace would have a profound impact on Montrealers.

Coderre visited the Vatican this week on an invitation from Archbishop of Montreal Christian Lépine.  

Read the letter to the pope here (in French):

Radio-Canada reporter Thomas Gerbet spotted Denis Coderre at the Vatican:

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