By Sophia D’Agostino
Pope Francis arrived in the United States of America this Tuesday the twenty-second, greeted by many ecstatic followers. He landed at Joint Base Andrew in Maryland and met President Barack Obama, along with the First Lady, Vice President Joe Biden, Jill Biden, and Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
This is the 78-year-old pope’s first visit to the United States, and it is going to be a memorable one. During his trip, the Pope plans to travel to three major cities, Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. He also plans to visit the White House, and address Congress and the United Nations. On Wednesday the twenty-third, Pope Francis visited the White House, and the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. After that, he greeted the public in a parade around the Ellipse, which is south of the White House. Also, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with 25,000 people to canonize Junipero Serra. A canonization is when a person becomes as saint. The canonization process took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Thursday, the twenty-fourth, Pope Francis first addressed the United States Congress and then flew to NYC. Pope Francis is the first pope to ever address the Congress. At Congress, the Pope spoke, “We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.” The Pope says this right before another potential government shutdown, which may take place in less than a week’s time. The Pope also spoke to the Congress about controversial topics, such as the death penalty, abortion, the environment, and immigration. The Pope spent the majority of his speech speaking of Global Warming, but he also spent a while on immigration. He spoke about his parents’ immigration to Argentina from Italy. He also pointed out that most of us have parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on, who were immigrants. He told Congress to view the immigrants as people, and to not be taken aback by how many there are.
The Pope also spoke about abortion and the death penalty. The Catholic Church believes that all life begins at conception, not at birth. So, in the eye of the Catholic Church, abortion is the killing of a person. Also, he, and the Church, believe that all life is sacred, and no matter what crime is committed, the death penalty is not an option.
The Pope continued his tour to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he spoke about the homeless. He declared, “We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person.” After, the Pope wandered into a crowd of homeless people, many who were sick, mentally ill, or have committed crimes. He laid his hands on top of the children.
On Saturday, Pope Francis plans to fly to Philadelphia where he will speak at the lectern that Abraham Lincoln used for the Gettysburg Address. On Sunday, Pope Francis hopes to say Mass on Sunday at the World Meeting of Families. He will return to Rome later that day.