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The Pope Slept Here: Special Preparations Underway For U.S. Visit

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The checklist ahead of the papal visit is long. You need roadblocks and security measures in place, nice meals, and all the visits with dignitaries squared away and the setup for the masses.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And bed sheets. You can't forget nice bed sheets.

STEVE HENDRIX: There is a long tradition of custom-made sheets for the pope with the papal crest. I don't know if Francis has ever requested crested sheets. It would be a bit counter to his public image.

SIEGEL: Whether he's requested them or not, Steve Hendrix says they're probably ready to go. The Washington Post reporter has been looking into the accommodations for Pope Francis when he visits New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia next week.

CORNISH: Hendrix was able to confirm at least one special order for the pope's stay in a Philadelphia seminary. Popes don't stay in hotels, by the way.

HENDRIX: We know that the pope is going to be sleeping on a donated, brand-new, queen-size memory foam mattress with medical grade laminate gel. (Laughter). I don't know if that's the pope's personal request, but the company that provided the mattress told us those were the specifications that came back when he offered to provide a bed for his holiness.

SIEGEL: A different company is providing brand-new carpeting for the quarters in Philadelphia. There is a lot of cleaning going on, and you have to think about the space for more than the few nights that the pope is in town.

HENDRIX: When the pope comes, you don't just clean up the room. In many cases, the room where he slept and the chairs he sat in and his objects are kind of put away as museum pieces.

SIEGEL: In most cases, Steve Hendrix says, a plaque goes up afterwards, reading, the pope slept here.

CORNISH: These special arrangements may seem over the top for Pope Francis, who moved out of the papal palace into a more modest guesthouse, but when the pope's coming over, you put the nice hand towels out. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.