That’s how you make a grand entrance. On his first full day in the United States, Pope Francis was welcomed by the White House with a magnificent ceremony before a morning meeting with President Obama!
Can you feel it in the air, America? As of Sept. 22, Pope Francis had arrived in the United States for his whirlwind tour and for his first full day on Sept. 23, he kicked things off bright and early. The day began at 9:20 with a stunning White House welcoming ceremony and meeting with President Obama. The ceremony was a stirring praise of everything the pope does for the people of the world.
Pope Francis eschewed the Popemobile in favor of a simple Fiat, arriving at the White House to a red carpet and both President Obama and the First Lady. Swanky! And don’t worry; anyone disappointed he didn’t roll out the Popemobile can catch it later in the day when he swings around the National Mall!
President Obama and Pope Francis started the welcoming ceremony by standing tall and proud in front of a huge crowd and a military band, which played both the Vatican national anthem, as well as the Star Spangled Banner. What a moving thing to see! Thus begins the pope’s long first visit to the United States, when he becomes the first pope to ever address Congress! You’re watching history, people!
President Obama gave a stirring speech addressing everything Pope Francis has done to make the world a better place. “We thank you and welcome you with joy and gratitude to the United States,” President Obama said. “What a beautiful day the Lord has made.” President Obama told the pope that his visit was something that delighted the 70 million Catholics living in the United States. Can you imagine how meaningful his visit is to those devout followers?!
Listing Pope Francis’ many beautiful attributes and accomplishments in trying to make the world more peaceful and united, Obama couldn’t help but sneak in a little joke. “You’re also the first pope to own an encyclical to a Twitter account,” he quipped. So funny! If you’re not following Pope Francis on Twitter, you can catch him @.
Following the ceremony, the Pope and Obama had their official meeting. Can you imagine being a fly on the wall in that room? Washington D.C. is just the beginning of the Pope’s U.S. tour. Following the nation’s capitol he will head to New York City, where he will visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as the 9/11 memorial (ya know, the same things all NYC tourists do).
Finally, the big trip will conclude with a stop in Philadelphia, where he will, amongst other things, meet with Bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel before hopping on a plane back to Rome. HollywoodLifers, what do you think of the pope’s White House welcoming ceremony? Are you excited that he’s in the U.S.?
— Casey Mink