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Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12, 2015: Del Rio News-Herald * Opinion * Letter to the Editor * Pope Francis will visit U.S.


Letter to the Editor,

Pope Francis will visit U.S.

Pope Francis, who became the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, will visit Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia this fall. 

Last year, Pope Francis confirmed that he would be coming to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September and that he would canonize the founder of California’s first missions, Father Junipero Serra, whose statue is among those in the U.S. Capitol.

The World Meeting of Families is a global Catholic event that seeks to support and strengthen families. 

Pope John Paul II founded the event in 1994, and it takes place every three years. 

The Philadelphia gathering will take place September 22-27. 

The World Meeting of Families will discuss the mission of the family in the Church and in the world by focusing on the theme, “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive”.  

People are being called to come together from all over the world in faithful celebration of the family—the sanctuary of love and life. 

The September trip will be Pope Francis' first papal visit to the U.S. 

The proposed schedule includes arrival in Washington, D.C. on the evening of September 22, and a visit to the White House the following morning, where the official welcoming ceremony will take place. 

This will mark only the third time a pontiff has visited the White House; President Jimmy Carter met with Pope John Paul II in 1979 and President George W. Bush hosted Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

Other details of the proposed itinerary include a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., an address to a joint session of Congress on September 24 and a papal address at the United Nations general assembly in New York on September 25, before heading to Philadelphia to spend September 26-27 at the World Meeting of Families.

On September 24, the 78-year-old leader of the world's Roman Catholics will become the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress. 

According to the U.S. House Historian’s Office no pope or religious leader who serves as a head of state has ever addressed Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner announced that the pope formally accepted an invitation the speaker extended last year. 

Boehner stated, "In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father's message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, "From the slums of Buenos Aires to St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis is moving the hearts of millions and inspiring a new generation with an engaging and compelling style." 

Marian Casillas, Ed.D.