Tags: Pope Francis | Pope Francis | visit | September | Congress | DC | New York

Pope Francis Likely to Address Congress in September Visit

By    |   Monday, 19 January 2015 08:15 AM

Pope Francis' visit to Washington, D.C., this fall is expected to include an address to a joint session of Congress, which one of the archbishops organizing the pontiff's United States tour said would be a "highlight" of his visit to the capital.

“And we might say really the highlight of the Washington visit might be his speech to the joint-meeting of Congress, so the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza told the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

According to the plans under discussion, Pope Francis would arrive in Washington on the evening of Sept. 22, a Tuesday, for a visit that will also include stops in New York City and Philadelphia.

The itinerary calls for the pope to visit the White House on the morning of Sept. 23, and then going on to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception before going on to his speech at the joint session of Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last March invited the pope to speak to Congress, reports The Hill, saying he has "inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service."

President Barack Obama has already met with the pope, discussing foreign policy, social issues, and income inequality a meeting last March at the Vatican.

After the pope's Washington visit wraps up, the plans underway call for him to leave for New York City on the afternoon of Sept. 24, reports CNA, with plans to speak for the United Nations' General Assembly on Sept. 25, the opening day of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Summit.

"Practically all of the heads of states and governments will be around and they will all be there on that day, so if the Pope were to finalize this visit to the U.S. that means that he would address all the heads of states and of governments, who will be sitting with their official delegations,” Auza said.

The pope's U.N. address would take up the morning, Auza said, after which he plans visits to other New York sites, including possible visits to the Ground Zero memorial and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

However, Pope Francis likely won't celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's, but in a larger venue, possibly Madison Square Garden, said Auza.

The plans call for the pope to leave New York for Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept. 26, where he has been confirmed to participate in the World Meeting of Families from Sept. 26-27, reports CNA.

On Jan. 15, the pope had announced that he plans to canonize Friar Junipero Serra, the founder of California's first missions, but Auza said a visit to that state probably won't be on the agenda for the fall trip.

But as there is a statue of Serra, as one of California's founders, in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol building, a brief canonization ceremony is possible. "I think he may do that in Washington," the archbishop said.

A papal trip to Mexico will also probably not be part of the pope's travels to the United States this fall, said Auza, as it then "becomes a very, very long (trip)."

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Pope Francis' visit to Washington, D.C., this fall is expected to include an address to a joint session of Congress, which one of the archbishops organizing the pontiff's United States tour said would be a "highlight" of his visit to the capital.
Pope Francis, visit, September, Congress, DC, New York, Philadelphia
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2015-15-19
Monday, 19 January 2015 08:15 AM
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