Highlights of papal stops in DC, NYC, Philly
By Catholic News Service
Pope Francis will make history during his visit to Washington in September, when he becomes the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress and he says the first canonization Mass to be celebrated in the U.S.
Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl outlined details of the pope’s Sept. 22-24 visit to the nation’s capital at a news conference at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington June 30, after the Vatican published the detailed schedule of Pope Francis’ Sept. 19-22 visit to Cuba and his Sept. 22-27 visit to the U.S.
St. Matthew Cathedral also is on the pope’s U.S. itinerary, as is a visit to an outreach program operated by Catholic Charities, where he will meet clients served by the agency.
“The Holy Father is visiting our home, he is coming to visit us,” Cardinal Wuerl said, adding that the pope will be visiting “not as a politician, but as a pastor.”
It is the first leg on his first U.S. trip, which also includes stops in New York City and Philadelphia.
Pope Francis will arrive Sept. 22 on a flight from Cuba to Andrews Field at Joint Base Andrews just outside of Washington. There will be no public events that day.
On Sept. 23, Pope Francis will begin his day with a welcoming ceremony at the White House followed by a private meeting with President Barack Obama. He also will have midday prayer with the U.S. bishops at St. Matthew Cathedral.
After departing the cathedral, Pope Francis will offer Mass that afternoon outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the university mall at The Catholic University of America. During the Mass, the pope will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary who established mission churches along the coast of California.
Representatives of the Catholic Church in California, the leadership of religious communities and representatives of Hispanic Catholics across the country will be invited to the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl said. The congregation also will include many students from Catholic University. The cardinal noted that the majority of the tickets for the liturgy will then be made available to local Catholics through their parishes.
Jumbotron screens will be set up around the campus.
Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress the morning of Sept. 24, becoming the first pontiff in history to do so.
Afterward, he will visit St. Patrick Parish in Washington and will meet with clients of Catholic Charities. Then he will offer a blessing and remarks to those gathered for lunch at the St. Maria Meals Program outside the agency’s headquarters.
Pope Francis is scheduled to depart Washington at 4 p.m. (local time) Sept. 24 and arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport an hour later. That evening he will celebrate vespers with priests and men and women religious in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and deliver the homily.
Early in the morning Sept. 25, the pontiff visits the headquarters of the United Nations to greet officials and give a speech. Mid-morning he will participate in an interreligious meeting at the ground zero 9/11 Memorial and give a speech there. The rest of his itinerary includes a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Elementary School in East Harlem and a meeting with children and immigrant families. That evening he will celebrate Mass. Early on Sept. 26 he will depart for Philadelphia.
The first stop for Pope Francis when he arrives Philadelphia the morning of Sept. 26 will be the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul to celebrate a Mass for the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The previously unannounced Mass is part of the pope’s itinerary for his Philadelphia visit announced by the Vatican June 30.
The announcement also included news of the pope’s planned visit with prison inmates of Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in northeast Philadelphia.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput greeted news of the papal schedule “with great joy.”
Another stop on the pope’s visit to the city includes an afternoon address Sept. 26 at Independence Hall, birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
The visit with incarcerated men and women at the sprawling 25-acre Curran-Fromhold facility, the largest in the Philadelphia prison system with 30,000 inmates, underscores Pope Francis’ commitment to extend mercy to the marginalized, including the poor, the sick and, in this case, the imprisoned.
The pope has declared a Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church to begin Dec. 8. It will emphasize the church’s healing ministry to all people “as a field hospital after battle,” as the pope has said.
The Mass at the cathedral, the prison visit and the address at Independence Hall join other papal events already announced for Philadelphia, including his attendance at an evening Festival of Families cultural celebration Sept. 26 and the public Mass he will celebrate on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway the afternoon of Sept. 27.
That evening there will be a celebration of the World Meeting of Families for supporters and volunteers at Philadelphia International Airport, followed by an official papal departure ceremony.
The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, being held Sept. 22-25 in advance of the pope’s visit, is expected to draw 15,000 participants from 150 countries.