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Papal Visit 2015

Pope Francis greets a disabled woman overcome with emotion during a March 2015 general audience. CNS Photo/Paul HaringPope Francis holds up a jersey and notes that were presented to him during a March 2015 visit to a parish outside Rome. CNS Photo/Paul HaringPope Francis embraces a teen during his January 2015 visit to the Philippines. CNS Photo/Paul Haring

USCCB President Welcomes Pope Francis' 2015 Visit to the United States

Papal Visit 2015 Logo USA 150Pope Francis made his intention to travel to the United States for the 2015 World Meeting of Families public on November 17, 2014, in an address to the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman at the Vatican.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the news

Papal Visit
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“The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in our country will be a joyful moment for millions of Catholics and people of good will.  Our great hope has been that the Holy Father would visit us next year to inspire our families in their mission of love. It is a blessing to hear the pope himself announce the much anticipated news,” said Archbishop Kurtz.

The schedule for the pope's visit to the three US cities is here.

stories from Catholic News Service

Building Second Papal Altar is Work of Faith for Deacon

By Mark Zimmermann, Catholic News Service

POOLESVILLE, Md. (CNS) -- They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but at the St. Joseph Carpentry Shop along a country road in Poolesville, Deacon Dave Cahoon is having his second "once-in-a-lifetime" experience in the past seven years.

In 2008, Deacon Cahoon built the altar Pope Benedict XVI used for his papal Mass at Nationals Park in Washington, and this summer, the carpenter is building an altar Pope Francis will use at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during his visit to the nation's capital.

On Sept. 23, on the east steps of the national shrine overlooking The Catholic University of America campus, the pope will celebrate the canonization Mass for Blessed Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary to California.

It's just by the grace of God," said Deacon Cahoon, describing the honor and the blessing of building two papal altars.

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Lessons from South America: How to greet and understand Pope Francis

By Cindy Wooden,  Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People make special preparations for welcoming a special guest, and watching what worked and did not work in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay may help people preparing for Pope Francis' visit to the United States in September.

Some of the plans, however, will require common-sense adjustments, especially because the U.S. Secret Service is likely to frown on certain behavior, like tossing things to the pope -- a phenomenon that occurs much more often with Pope Francis than with any previous pope. At the Vatican, the items tend to be soccer jerseys and scarves; in Ecuador, it was flower petals -- lots of them.  

 Watching the pope July 5-12 in South America it is clear:  

  • Pope Francis loves a crowd. He walks into events with little expression on his face, then lights up when he starts greeting, blessing, kissing and hugging people. Persons with disabilities, the sick and squirming babies come first.
  • The pope does not mind being embraced, but he does not like people running at him. As a nun in Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in La Paz rushed toward Pope Francis July 8, the pope backed up and used both hands to gesture her to calm down and step back. In the end, she did get a blessing from him, though.
  • At Mass, Pope Francis tends to be less animated. His focus and the focus he wants from the congregation is on Jesus present in the Eucharist. At large public Masses on papal trips, he sticks to the text of his prepared homilies, although he may look up and repeat phrases for emphasis.
  • A meeting with priests, religious and seminarians is a fixture on papal trips within Italy and abroad; in Cuba and the United States, the meetings with take place during vespers services, Sept. 20 in Havana and Sept. 24 in New York. At vespers, like at Mass, Pope Francis tends to follow his prepared text.
    However, when the gathering takes place outside the context of formal liturgical prayer, he never follows the prepared text, even if he may hit the main points of the prepared text as he did in Bolivia July 9.

  • Pope Francis has said he needs a 40-minute rest after lunch and his official schedule always includes at least an hour of down time. However, like his "free" afternoons at the Vatican, the pope often fills the breaks with private meetings with friends, acquaintances or Jesuits. In fact, his trips abroad have always included private get-togethers with his Jesuit confreres, although in South America one of the meetings -- in Guayaquil, Ecuador -- was a luncheon formally included in the itinerary. But he also spent unscheduled time with Jesuits at Quito's Catholic university the next day. In Paraguay, he made an unscheduled visit to 30 of his confreres in Asuncion and then went next door to their Cristo Rey School to meet with more than 300 students from Jesuit schools.
  •  In South America, Pope Francis specifically asked that his meetings with the bishops be private, informal conversations -- similar to the way he handles the regular "ad limina" visits of bishops to the Vatican to report on the state of their dioceses. For the "ad limina" visits, he hands them the text of a rather general look at their country and Catholic community, then begins a discussion. But when he makes a formal speech to a group of bishops, his words can seem critical. But, in fact, the tone tends to be one of addressing his "fellow bishops" and his words are more of a collective examination of conscience than a scolding.

  • Pope Francis' speeches in general -- whether to presidents, civic and business leaders, young people or even, for example, the prisoners in Bolivia -- acknowledge what is going well and being done right, then seeks to build on that. It's a combination of a pat on the back and a nudge forward. While Bolivia's Palmasola prison is notorious for its difficult conditions and while the pope pleaded for judicial reform in the country, he also told the prisoners: "The way you live together depends to some extent on yourselves. Suffering and deprivation can make us selfish of heart and lead to confrontation."

  • Since the days of the globetrotting St. John Paul II, the nunciature stakeout has been a staple of papal trips. In fact, anywhere a pope sleeps, people will gather -- shouting and singing -- in the hope

President, First Lady to Welcome Pope Francis to White House September 23

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will welcome Pope Francis to the White House Sept. 23.

"During the visit, the president and the pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the president's visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues," said a statement released March 26 by the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House.

Those issues, it said, include "caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities."

The statement added, "The president looks forward to continuing this conversation with the Holy Father during his first visit to the United States as pope."

Last year, in their first encounter, Pope Francis received the president at the Vatican for a discussion that touched on several areas of tension between the Catholic Church and the White House, including religious freedom and medical ethics.

During an unusually long 50-minute meeting, the two leaders discussed "questions of particular relevance for the church in (the U.S.), such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection as well as the issue of immigration reform," the Vatican said in statement afterward.

While in Washington, Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24, making him the first pope to do so.

The Archdiocese of Washington said it would host the pope for his visit, but did not announce dates. On his flight from the Philippines to Rome in January, Pope Francis said he would canonize Blessed Junipero Serra at Washington's Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

On March 18, the United Nations announced Pope Francis will visit there the morning of Sept. 25 to address the U.N. General Assembly. The pope also will meet separately with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and with the president of the General Assembly. The pontiff also is scheduled to a town hall gathering with U.N. staff.

In a statement, Ban noted that the pope's visit came during the United Nations' 70th anniversary, in which its members would make decisions about sustainable development, climate change and peace. He said he was confident the pope's visit would inspire the international community to redouble its efforts for social justice, tolerance and understanding.

The United Nations did not release the detailed itinerary for the meetings, part of a larger papal visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia. The Vatican is expected to release the official itinerary about two months in advance of the trip, unless local officials release it earlier.

Pope Francis already had announced his participation Sept. 26 and 27 for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

During his pontificate, St. John Paul II visited the United States seven times -- two of which were fuel stopovers -- making the country his most frequent foreign destination after his native Poland. He addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 1979 and 1995; Blessed Paul VI did so in 1965 and Pope Benedict XVI addressed the assembly in 2008, during his one U.S. visit as pope.

U.N. Says Pope Francis Will Visit Morning of September 25

By Catholic News Service

UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement that Pope Francis would visit the United Nations the morning of Sept. 25 to address the U.N. General Assembly.

In a statement March 18, the United Nations also said the pope would meet separately with the secretary-general and with the president of the General Assembly and would participate in a town hall gathering with U.N. staff.

Ban noted that the pope's visit came during the United Nations' 70th anniversary, in which its members would make decisions about sustainable development, climate change and peace. He said he was confident the pope's visit would inspire the international community to redouble its efforts for social justice, tolerance and understanding.

House Speaker Boehner Announces Pope Francis Will Address Congress

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Feb. 5 that Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24.

The pontiff's "historic visit" would make him the "first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress," Boehner said in a statement, adding that he was "truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation."

Boehner noted that "in a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father's message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another."

"We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people," he added

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