Pope Francis has officially arrived in the nation’s capital! He touched down as planned at 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, and although he only has 48 hours in the city, his schedule is jam-packed. Check out pictures from his visit in our gallery!
Washington, D.C. is the first city Pope Francis visited on his trip to the United States. That makes the nation’s capital the first American city he has ever visited during his jurisdiction. Now that’s quite the big deal! His crazy schedule beings the moment he arrived in D.C., so of course we had to round up all of the pictures from his historic stay!
Upon his arrival at 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, Pope Francis was led down the streets of Washington, D.C. to the Joint Base Andrews military facilities. Adoring fans lined up on the streets to welcome the Pope. They have all been awaiting his arrival since he announced it in November 2014. Pope Francis’ stop in the nation’s capital marks the third papal visit to occur in D.C., historically. Both of his predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, made trips during their stays in the U.S., also meeting with the presidents of the time.
Pope John Paul II met with Jimmy Carter in October of 1979. His visit to the White House was a historical moment because Pope John Paul II became the first Pope to do so! Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by George W. Bush upon his arrival on April 18, 2008. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis when he landed at the Washington D.C. airport on Sept. 23. The president welcomed Pope Francis with a grand ceremony by the White House before a morning meeting.
After being welcomed to America by President Obama, Pope Francis took part in the official Papal Parade, prayed the Liturgy of Hours with all U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, and celebrated mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. And that’s just one day!
Continuing with his D.C. visit on Sept. 24, the Pope he will give a speech to the Senate and House of Representatives in a joint session of Congress, briefly appearing on the West Front of Capitol Hill. He will also give a blessing at St. Patrick’s Church as well as bless the homeless at St. Maria Meals Program of the Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington. Quickly following those events, Pope Francis will continue the tour by heading for New York City at 4 p.m. on Sept. 24!
You can see his full D.C. itinerary with specific times here, as well as access a live stream of his speech to Congress when it occurs. Keep checking back to this post for updated photos from his time in D.C.!
— Taylor Weatherby