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 Jim Roper.

A practice motorcade drove by at 2:00 p.m.  A Fiat with the Vatican flag was waiting for the Pope.

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 p.m. 

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 Spanish.

The banners (4 in English and Spanish) were rolled out and hung up on fencing between 2:15pm - 2:30 p.m.

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 landed.

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 cheered.

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