This past Tuesday, Pope Francis arrived in the United States to begin his journey visiting many cities around the nation, making stops in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City. He is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, and this is his first time visiting the United States. There have only been four other Popes who have previously visited the United States.
On Wednesday, there was a ceremony at the White House for the Pope’s arrival, followed by a parade in his honor. He is very humble and believes that everyone should live a humble life, he wanted to ride in a Fiat rather than a luxurious vehicle. While in Washington, DC, he also wanted to have lunch with the homeless rather than having lunch with government officials and politicians, reflecting his non-materialistic values. The Pope was not concerned with his safety and decided to ride in a open-door Jeep instead of a vehicle which provided protection from the public.Even though he wasn’t concerned with his own safety, the Pope’s visit to the United States is considered one of the largest security events in the history of the Department of Homeland Security; there was also additional state and federal law enforcement in the three cities that he attended. On Wednesday, the Pope also attended a canonization at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.
On Thursday, the Pope made history by addressing a joint session of Congress; during his first address to Congress, he discussed climate change and immigration. Climate change and immigration are controversial issues in today’s news where Republicans and Democrats disagree. Later, Pope Francis then arrived in New York City and had a service at the 9/11 memorial and a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. While he was at Ground Zero, he met the families of many of the victims of the 2001 attack. On Saturday, Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, which was the last stop on his journey. While he was in Philadelphia, he visited the city’s largest prison, the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. At the prison he met and comforted many of the prisoners. Pope Francis had his final mass in the downtown area of Philadelphia; about 1.5 million people attended the mass.
Many people from all around the country have traveled to all three cities to get a chance to see the Pope and possibly meet him. Several students at Chattahoochee shared their thoughts about meeting the Pope, Taylor Purdy (SR) said, “I would probably ask him what his day-to-day schedule is.”, Sarah Kate Dhom (JR) said, “I would ask him to pray for my family.”
Regardless of one’s religious affiliation, this time unites the nation as a whole in a positive way. The Pope’s visit to the United States is a very special time for many people in the nation, and it is an unforgettable event in history.