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Pope Francis Visit to the USA
Pope Francis: The People's Pope
Beginning on September 22, 2015 through September 27, 2015, Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, visited Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. The highlight of the visit from Pope Francis was the 8th World Meeting of Families, which took place in Philadelphia, on September 26, 2015. The World Meeting of Families is an international event of prayer and celebration. It is celebrated throughout the world, to strengthen the bonds between families, and recognize the importance of marriage and family throughout the globe.
Thousands upon thousands of people, from near and far, traveled and waited patiently. Some waited in line for several hours, just to see Pope Frances drive and wave to them.
Whether you are Catholic, Christian, Non-Catholic, Religious or Non-Religious, one this is for sure, this event brought people together. Whether you believe as he believes or believe otherwise does not matter. What matters is the overwhelming feeling you will get by watching the hundreds of thousands of people come together to try to catch a glimpse of this man.
Experiencing the Visit of Pope Francis
The weather was perfect. There was very little rain. There were clouds and peaks of sun. Many saw and posted pictures of rainbows on Facebook. Some claimed that rainbows followed Pope Francis as he traveled to Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia.
Crowds cheered. People cried. Babies were blessed. Pope Francis frequently stopped his driver, exited his vehicle and greeted visitors, hugged children, and took time to bless the ill.
Representatives from 100 countries joined to celebrate Pope Francis’ visit to the United States for his 5-day visit, from September 22, 2015 through September 27, 2015.
The History of Pope Francis
How Did Jorge Bergoglio Become Pope Francis?
Birth: Pope Francis' parents, Mario and Regina, met through their parish and married in 1935. One year later, on December 17, 1936, their eldest son, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born. There would be 4 siblings born thereafter, including his brothers, Oscar and Alberto, and sisters, Marta and Maria Elena.
Childhood: Jorge spent his childhood in Flores, Argentina, now known as Buenos Aires. His father, Mario, was a bookkeeper. Neighbors and friends, Giovanni and Rosa, frequently looked after Jorge. Rosa introduced Jorge to the classics of Italian literature. At 17, Jorge became interested in the priesthood, but as the years passed, he also developed an interest in politics. Regina, his mother, wanted him to become a doctor, but found theology books in his room. Jorge told his mother that he decided to be a "doctor of the soul".
Seminary: By the time Jorge was 20, he was in the seminary, studying to be a priest. He fell ill with pleurisy, and suffered from painful inflammation in his lung membranes. After he recovered, he joined a religious missionary in preparation of becoming a Jesuit priest.
Teacher and Priest: In 1960, at the age of 24, Jorge received a license in philosophy. He then taught literature and philosophy at a high school in Santa Fe, Argentina, and a college in Buena Aires. In 1967, he completed his theological studies, and then was ordained as priest in 1969.
Religious Leader: In 1973, at the age of 36, he became the leader of the Society of Jesuits in Argentina and served until 1979.
Leader of the Jesuits: In 1980, he was appointed to a six-year term as the head of the Colegio Maximo. He continued to be a leader of the Jesuits.
Doctorate: In 1986, he finished his doctoral thesis in Germany.
Bishop: Then in 1992, he was appointed by John Pope John Paul II as Bishop of Buenos Aires.
Coajdutor Archbishop: In 1997, he was made Coajdutor Archbishop, which meant that he would be automatically become Archbishop of Buenos Aires upon the death of Cardinal Antonio Quarricino. This occurred in 1998.
Cardinal Bergoglio: In 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed him as Cardinal of Buenos Aires. Cardinal Bergoglio, which is what he was known as at that time, was very well-liked but unknown to many, as he avoided interviews. He continued to grow in his position, helping the jobless and homeless. Buenos Aires grew to love their cardinal, and he emerged as a national figure.
Pope Francis: In 2013, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, he was elected as the new pope. He selected Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first non-European pope since 741.
Resources: Philadelphia Inquirer, Wikipedi.org, http://w2.vatican.va
Schedule of the Pope’s Visit
Pope Francis Visits Washington, DC
The visit of Pope Francis began with his arrival in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015, at 4pm.
The next morning, there was a welcoming ceremony at the White House, where Pope Francis met the President of the United States, President Barack Obama.
After leaving the White House, there was a Papal Parade in Washington, D.C. a midday prayer with U.S. bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and a celebration mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The following day, on September 24, 2014, Pope Francis gave a speech to Congress.
Also on September 24, 2015, Pope Francis visited St. Patrick’s Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Next, he departed for New York City.
Pope Francis Visits New York City
Pope Francis arrived in New York on the evening of September 24th, 2015. That evening, he prayed and said an evening Prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The next morning, on September 25, 2015, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.
Next, he held a multi-religious service at the 9/11 memorial site in New York City, and later visited Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem.
On the evening of September 25, 2015, Pope Francis traveled via motorcade through Central Park to meet and greet visitors in New York, and followed with a celebration Mass at the Madison Square Garden events facility.
To celebrate the visit of Pope Francis, the New York Post newspaper became the "New York Pope" for the day.
Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia | Festival and Meeting of Families
Pope Francis departed for and arrived in Philadelphia on the morning of September 26, 2015.
The day in Philadelphia began with a mass at Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and Paul.
Next, Pope Francis visited Independence Mall, and then attended the Festival of Families that evening.
During this event, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and many others perform for the pontiff. This includes Aretha Franklin, Sister Sledge (singing “We Are Family”) and Jim Gaffigan.The MC for the evening was Mark Whalberg.
The Festival of Families is an intercultural celebration of families and family life around the world. The event took place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Since the event was open to the public, and large crowds of people were expected, 40 Jumbotrons (large screen TV's) were available for viewing the event.
Several major highways and many roads were closed in the city as a security measure during the pope's visit to Philadelphia.
Pope Francis's Visit to Philadelphia - Closing Day
On his last day visiting Philadelphia, on September 27, 2015, Pope Francis, met with bishops at St. Martin's Chapel in St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Next, he visited Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
The final celebration was the World Meeting of Families Papal Mass, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people, from all around the world.
After visiting with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis departed for Rome from the Philadelphia International Airport.
Pope Souvenirs, Costumes and Paraphernalia
With the visit of Pope Francis, vendors took full advantage of the situation, selling an array of Pope paraphernalia, ranging from Pope dolls, Pope t-shirts, Pope statues, Pope books, Pope medals, Pope bobbleheads, and many other souvenirs.
There was even a cell phone app with Pope Emoji's.