Holyland to Homeland- Pope Francis visits the U.S.
No score and seven years ago, our holy father brought upon this continent… himself. All of America’s eyes were fixed on Pope Benedict XVI as he made his way from his home in the Vatican Guesthouse in Vatican City all the way to the United States, beginning April 15 and ending on April 20, 2008. Just recently the Pope visited the US, but this time it was not Pope Benedict; it was Pope Francis that toured the country. The 2013-elected Pope visited prominent cities like Washington DC, New York, and the nearby Philadelphia.
Francis’ visit lasted from September 22 to September 27, 2015. At his first stop in DC, the Pope was welcomed by President Barack Obama at the White House. A welcome ceremony was held on the South Lawn - making this the third time a pope has visited the White House. Later that day, he held Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and canonized of Junipero Serra. The next day, Francis visited the Capitol Building, and addressed a joint session of the United States Congress. Being the first Pope to do this, he spent most of his time discussing immigration, protection for persecuted religious groups including Christians, poverty, capital punishment, and climate change. Later that same day, he met with Kim Davis and her husband, however, the Vatican claims this was not to show a form of support in “all of its particular and complex aspects.”
The following day, (the 25th), the Pope visited New York City, and addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Later, he toured the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and World Trade Center as part of a multi-religious event. He then took time to show himself at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, followed by a Papal Procession through Central Park. To cap the day, he celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden. The next morning was began with a flight to Philadelphia, where he held Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. He then visited Independence Hall and the Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
On Francis’ last day in America, he attended a meeting with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel. He finished up his journey to North America with a visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Holmesburg, Philadelphia, a visit and blessing at Saint Joseph’s University, and celebrating Mass at the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.