Pope Francis is expected to both deliver a prayer and celebrate Mass in the nation's capital this week. Francis is scheduled to first participate in the prayer Wednesday, which is expected to be private, at 11:3o a.m. with U.S. bishops at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington. St. Matthews Cathedral is a historic church, the fourth established in the city when it was dedicated on Nov. 1, 1840. It also held the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, the first-ever Catholic U.S. president, on Nov. 25 1963.
After the prayer, Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The church website calls it "America's Catholic Church," and claims it is "the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America" and "one of the ten largest churches in the world."
Some 25,000 people were allowed to get tickets to attend the mass. It is expected to be the first canonization mass on United States' soil as Francis recognizes a new saint in Spanish-American missionary Junípero Serra. It is also expected that Francis, a native of Argentina, will celebrate Mass in Spanish, the language of Serra, according to USA Today.
Hispanics make up about one-third of the Catholic Church's total congregation in the United States and Washington is 10.4 percent Hispanic, according to census data. About 25 percent of U.S. Catholic churches celebrate Mass in Spanish at least once per month, according to Georgetown University data. "[Hispanics are] the biggest source of population growth in the church," said Julia Young, a professor at the Catholic University of America, according to USA Today.
There are a couple of ways to follow along with the papal visit events in Washington online. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will live stream all events, which can be found here. Time Warner Cable News will have around the clock coverage online, which can be found here.