Pope Francis’s Historic First Visit to the United States


Jeon Han

Pope Francis’s historic first visit to the United States concluded this past Sunday, September 27th, when he left Philadelphia to go back home to Rome, Italy. His trip began Tuesday, September 22nd in Washington D.C. In D.C, his trip opened when President Obama greeted him at Joint Base Andrews. The following day, Obama welcomed the Pope to the White House, where they had a private meeting together. Afterward, the Pope rode around in his Popemobile for a parade, gathered by thousands of people. Later in the evening, there was a prayer with the United States bishops at St. Matthews’s Cathedral. The next day, the Pope gave a speech at a Joint Meeting of Congress. In the afternoon, the Pope departed Washington D.C, for New York City, where he was greeted with great joy from the minute he stepped off the plane at JFK airport. The crowd grew even bigger for the parade on Fifth Avenue, before a prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Friday was a busy day for the Pope; he addressed world leaders at the United Nations, had a service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero, visited third and fourth graders at Our Lady Queen of Angels School, paraded through Central Park surrounded by tens of thousands of people, and finally, he conducted a mass at Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people. But his trip did not end there, Saturday morning the Pope was off to Philadelphia.

In Philly, there was a mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, a speech at Independence Hall where Francis talked about immigration and religious freedom, and a festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. During his final day in the United States, the Pope met with 350 bishops, visited the largest prison in Philadelphia, Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and went to a mass to conclude the World Meeting of Families with more than a million people. On Sunday night, Pope Francis said goodbye to America as he left Philadelphia.

The Pope impacted America in many ways. He addressed major issues such as immigration and climate change, The Pope thinks immigrants should be welcomed into our country, as he is a “son of immigrants.” He is very welcoming and open to immigrants because they bring culture to our country. Francis is also passionate about climate change; he challenges the world to stop pollution, to recycle and to do without air conditioning.