Pope Francis’ highly anticipated trip to the United States begins Tuesday in the nation’s capital. He is scheduled to arrive around 4 p.m. local time at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, beginning a busy itinerary of speeches, ceremonies, appearances and religious services.
Wednesday morning at 9:15, Francis is to begin his day with a White House welcoming ceremony and a personal meeting with President Barack Obama. The two leaders first met in March 2014 at the Vatican, and the president has expressed admiration for the pope’s ability to call attention to a variety of issues, while acknowledging differences on certain social issues, CNN noted.
At 11 a.m. Pope Francis is scheduled to take part in a parade along the Ellipse and National Mall in the popemobile. The viewing area of the motorcade is free and open to the public, and tickets are not needed. After the parade concludes at 11:30, Francis is will lead a mid-day prayer with U.S. Catholic bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew at the Apostle. At 4:15 p.m., he is to celebrate the Mass of Canonization for Blessed Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A number of free tickets were distributed to each parish in the Archdiocese of Washington. For people who do not have tickets to the Mass but still want to see the pope, there will be a jumbotron in the National Mall airing continuous live coverage.
The pope will begin Thursday with a 9:20 a.m. address to a joint session of Congress, followed by a brief appearance on the West Front of the Capitol at 11. At 11:15, Francis is scheduled to visit St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and meet with several clients of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.
The pope is scheduled to depart D.C. at 4 p.m. Thursday and head to New York City.