Pope Francis To Make Historic Visit To The U.S. And Millions Are Expected To Come See Him

Pope Francis will make a historical five-day visit to Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia starting September 22. Millions of people are expected to gather in these cities in anticipation of seeing the leader of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis arrives in Washington, D.C. on September 22 and will have a full schedule of events, including a visit with President Barack Obama at the White House and a meeting with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St Matthew.

The New York Times reports Pope Francis will canonize missionary friar Rev. Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception on September 23.

Pope Francis will also speak before a joint session of Congress on September 24. He will be the first pope to do so.

Additionally, the Pope will ride in his bullet-proof vehicle through the streets of Washington, D.C. where thousands will get the opportunity to see the pontiff. However, those unable to get close enough to see him will be able to view the motorcade’s movements via a large screen TV set up near the Washington Monument.

On Friday, September 25, the Pope is expected to be in New York City to speak at the United Nations, preside over mass held at Madison Square Garden, and attend a ceremony at the September 11 terror attack memorial.

Per a Wall Street Journal article, a papal procession through New York’s famed Central Park is also planned the same day. Organizers of the event estimate 80,000 people will show up with hopes of catching a glimpse of his holiness.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, stressed the importance of this appearance.

“The one thing we know about this pope is that his greatest desire is to have contact with the people. We hope to have many tens of thousands of people available to see the pope to feel like they’ve had a part in this visit and for the pope to get more of a glimpse of the people of New York.”

New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, spoke about the impact of the upcoming visit to his city.

“Pope Francis is one of the world’s most important voices, and his historic visit to New York City will be an unforgettable experience.”

He is also expected to spend some time in East Harlem to visit with students and teachers.

On September 26 and 27, the Pope will be in Philadelphia. While there, he will make an appearance at the World Meeting of Families, a Catholic conference on family values. Pope Francis will also preside over Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, is excited about the visit.

“We are hosting the largest event in the city’s history. Make no mistake, the City of Philadelphia will have the world’s attention, and we are doing our part to be as prepared and coordinated as possible.”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Pope Francis is scheduled to make a speech at Independence Hall while in Philadelphia. However, tickets for this event may be unavailable.

This will be the first time 78-year-old Pope Francis has visited the United States. This upcoming trip to the United States will be the 15th country he has visited since becoming pope. Prior to becoming the papal leader, he spent the majority of his life as a Jesuit priest and later as cardinal in his native Argentina.

[Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images]