By Ray Sanchez and Daniel Burke, CNN
(CNN) - Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit the United States next year for a major meeting of the Roman Catholic church, CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said Friday, citing Vatican sources.
The pope would attend the eighth World Meeting of Families, which has been held every three years since the late Pope John Paul II convened the first such gathering in 1994. The Vatican announced in February that the meeting will be held September 22-27, 2015, in Philadelphia.
A visit by Francis, the first pope from Latin America, would resonate with the nation's growing Latin American population.
Allen told CNN that the idea of the family has been a major concern for the church around the world, especially in light of the growing push for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The General Assembly of the United Nations generally meets in September, leading to speculation that Francis might combine the Philadelphia trip with a stop in New York to address the U.N., according to Allen, a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.