BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has sent a letter to Pope Francis, inviting him to visit Boston.

Walsh confirmed to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that he asked Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who has long been friends with the pope, to hand deliver the letter to the pontiff.

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O’Malley is at the Vatican for a meeting on church reform.

In the letter, Walsh says he talked about the city of Boston and how excited residents would be if Pope Francis decided to visit during his first planned trip to the U.S. next year.

“Also I did a little explanation of myself growing up in a Catholic home, being part of a parish – St. Margaret’s Parish in Dorchester,” Walsh said. “I asked him to come and bless Pope John Paul Park, which is in Dorchester, and said we’d be honored to have his presence here.”

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Boston Archdiocese spokesperson Terrence Donilon says it’s unlikely Boston would be chosen as a papal visit destination, but local church officials would be excited if it did happen.

“If he wants to come to Boston, we are more than ready and happy to be a part of that process,” Donilon said. “And we think the mayor has really expressed himself beautifully in that letter to the pontiff, so we’ll see what happens.”

Mayor Walsh is aware that a visit is not likely, but he remains hopeful.

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“Having Pope Francis come to Boston and be here would excite a lot of people. It’d be a nice visit for the pope here. I think it’d be nice for the people of Boston to have the pope come to our city,” he said.