By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
AURIESVILLE -- If he accepts the invitation, Pope Francis could make a stop at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs during his visit to the U.S. in 2015.
Local retired radio personality Joseph Caruso said in an interview Thursday that an independent law firm representing the New York Province of Jesuits is preparing an invitation that will be sent to Pope Francis.
"We have a lot of work to do and we have a committee working on it," Caruso said. "But we have an independent law firm who has the financial resources to bring the pope here."
The name of the law firm was not released.
Preparations began after Caruso spoke to a priest in Rome about the pope's visit to the U.S in 2015, when he is expected to stop at the United Nations and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Auriesville is about three hours from New York City with airports in Albany and Johnstown.
"Because we are a Jesuit community with three saints, all Jesuits, martyred on these grounds as well as St. Kateri [Tekakwitha], who recently became a saint, we believe we have a solid case for the invite," Caruso said.
The 400-acre shrine campus is considered to be one of the most holy sites in the world, according to its website.
In addition to luring the pope, Caruso said talks have begun with a major movie producer and director potentially interested in making a movie about the life of St. Kateri.
The movie would be directed and shot on the holy grounds at the shrine, if a movie deal can be completed, he said. To date, more than 10 meetings have taken place about the St. Kateri movie, Caruso said.
"We have a lot of great things in the planning stages, but we first need to raise the funds necessary to replace the roof and windows at the shrine," he said.