September 22, 2015 (All times EDT)
The weather was cloudy and a lot of bees were flying around.
The DeMatha High School
band played while the Pope de-planed. The 37-members band is made up of juniors
and seniors who had to audition. The director of the Wind Ensemble is
A practice motorcade
drove by at 2:00 p.m. A Fiat with the Vatican flag was waiting for the
The Popemobile has been
here and ready for months.
An ambulance and fire trucks were standing by.
Four sets of bleachers were
filled with young adults and students from parishes and schools around the
metro area. There were two platforms and a fenced-in area for media.
Archdiocese of Washington
Young Adult ministry representatives "practice" chanted from the bleachers
"we love Francis, yes we do we love Francis how about you?" at about 2:58
The red carpet rolled
out by dress uniform soldiers of the 3rd U.S. infantry regiment (The Old Guard) at
2:20 p.m. They are the face of the army for the Capital area. They
Rehearsed an "Armed
Forces Full Honors Arrival Ceremony" at 2:32 p.m.
There was intense security
inside the hangar before media were allowed to proceed to the tarmac.
Banners were displayed
with messages including "Share the Joy: Walk with Francis" and "Jesus
loves us without limits," "With Jesus there is true joy," and another welcome banner in
The banners (4 in
English and Spanish) were rolled out and hung up on fencing between 2:15pm -
Two helicopters flew
over the area.
At 3:09 p.m. a 13-car
motorcade led by DC police went by.
At 3:15 p.m. The crowd
in the bleachers the "We love Francis" chant and "Hello, hey, hey, welcome to
the USA." The DeMatha band played "Sweet Caroline," a Motown medley, and a
Coldplay song, some jazz standards and other music while the crowd waited.
At 3:20 p.m. a practice occurred
with four students and teachers that were to present flowers to the Pope.
At 3:25 p.m., Cardinal Donald
W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, arrived and the students and young adults
greeted him with chants of "We love Cardinal Wuerl!."
At 3:52, other
dignitaries began to arrive. At approximately 3:55 p.m., the Pope's plane
At 4:00 p.m., the red
carpet was rolled out and at 4:05 the doors opened on the plane. The Pope
stepped out at 4:07 p.m. He walked down the stairs and shook hands with President Obama and his
family (First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and the
President's Mother-in-Law, Marian Shields Robinson). Also greeting the Pope
were U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Kenneth F, Hackett and his wife, Vice
President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, Auxiliary Bishops Martin Holley, Barry
C. Knestout and Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez, and retired Auxiliary Bishop of
Washington Francisco Gonzalez, SF, and the leadership of the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Pope walked toward
crowd to the doorway to the JBA Visitors' Center.
At 4:15 p.m. Pope
Francis walked back out to his waiting car (a Fiat) in a 6-car motorcade.At 4:20 p.m., the motorcade departed.
At 4:22 p.m., the
President and Mrs. Obama shook hands with some students in the crowd as they
At 4:25 p.m., the Obamas
and Bidens were driven away in motorcade.
Between 4:35 and 4:55
p.m., the guests began boarding buses and leaving.
Filed by: Paula Gwynn Grant