Pope Francis made his first ever trip to the United States, starting in Washington D.C and ending in Philadelphia.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at 4 p.m: Pope Francis arrived at Joint Base Andrews military facility.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, the pope had a welcoming ceremony at the White House followed by a private meeting with President Obama. After meeting with the President, he paraded between the Ellipse and a portion of the National Mall in the popemobile.
Then a mid-day prayer was held with the bishops of the United States at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle. Mass was held in the afternoon on portico east of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. During this Mass, the pope canonized Blessed Junipero Serra.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, there was a joint meeting of the U.S congress in the morning. Thereafter was a visit to the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C and a meet with several clients of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington in the late morning. Afterwards, the pope departed for New York City from Andrews Air Force Base.
Friday, September 25, 2015, the pope called for social justice and peace in an address to all world leaders and people alike in New York.
“In big cities, beneath the roar of traffic, beneath the rapid pace of change, so many faces pass by unnoticed because they have no ‘right’ to be there, no right to be part of the city,” Francis said in a Mass before 20,000 at Madison Square Garden.
“They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly. These people stand at the edges of our great avenues, in our streets, in deafening anonymity.”
Crowds filled the streets around Central Park during a break in the papal schedule. He met with a group of immigrants, who gave him gifts such as: a soccer ball, a hard hat, and a tool belt. Then he was celebrated with the choreography of a concert befitting the hall before a rapt audience.
“A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others, for the life of our city,” Francis said.
Saturday 26, 2015, the pope departed for Philadelphia from John F. Kennedy International Airport. At 10:30 am, the pope celebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. He praised the “immense contribution” of women to the Catholic Church. The event was not open to the public and was exclusive to the local religious and personal invitations.
At 4:45 pm, the pope visited the Independence Mall in Philadelphia, where he talked about immigration and religious freedom to an estimated crowd of 50,000, mainly local Hispanics and immigrants. He told them to “never be ashamed” of being immigrants or of their culture, that they would renew the US.
The pope also defended religious liberty, saying it was the foundation of other liberties and the truest expression of American culture.
Sunday, September 27, 2015, the pope visited the victims of clergy sex abuse and other forms of abuse before telling bishops at a local seminary that he promised to “zealously” protect young people. He then urged bishops at St. Martin of Tours to practice “oversight to ensure the youth are protected.” He also promised that those responsible for the sexual abuse “will be held responsible.”
“I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted,” the pope told victims. He then prayed with and blessed the victims he met with — three women and two men, who are now adults, according to a statement from the Vatican. The meeting lasted about a half-hour, the statement said.
The pope then visited Philadelphia’s largest prison — the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility — where he met with young prisoners and corrections officers. Inmates at the prison built a special chair for Francis to sit in, and the pope’s speech was broadcast to all the prisoners. The pope told inmates that they are not alone and should not feel deserted during their time in prison.
Francis said the faithful should commit to helping the prisoners in their time of “rehabilitation” because no one is perfect. “All of us have something we need to be cleansed of, or purified from. May the knowledge of that fact inspire us to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others,” he said.