By: Marielis Aguiar, Alexis Sanchez, Kimberly Herrera
Pope Francis, unlike any other Popes, arrived in the United States on September 22, 2015. During his six day stay, he visited Washington D.C., New York , and Philadelphia. His greatly valued intellect, attracted many Americans, non- religious or religious. Many people traveled from all over the world just to get a glimpse of the Pope. His iconic symbol for peace restored faith and hope for many Americans, including immigrants.
During the Pope’s arrival at the nation’s capitol, at Joint Base Andrews Military Facility, he was greeted and welcomed by President Barack Obama and many religious and military officials. On September 23, 2015 the Pope arrived at the White House (being the third Pope to ever visit the White House) for a State Arrival Ceremony. The Pope also held a private meeting with President Obama. As Pope Francis traveled in his Pope
mobile, a little girl presented him with an immigration letter that she wrote stating that she is worried her parents will be deported. Later that day, Pope Francis delivered a midday prayer with bishops from the U.S at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle where the Pope supported all the churches throughout the country. He also presented a homily (lecture) to those present. In the afternoon, the Pope celebrated mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. On September 24, 2015, his final day in Washington D.C., he gave a speech to the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint session of Congress, as he was invited by House Speaker John Boehner. In addition, Pope Francis paid a visit to St. Patrick’s Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, where he gave a speech to the poor and St. Patrick’s Parish.
After his visit from Washington D.C, the Pope visited New York. He took a spin in Madison Square Garden in his popemobile on Friday, his last day in town. In Madison Square, the pope gave a mass and spoke about the challenges of urban life. He reached out to the people who the world might consider powerless in some way. For example a person in a wheelchair, sick, or an elderly man or woman. He also went to Central park and was greeted by 85,000 people waiting for his popemobile to arrive. Furthermore, at the United Nations he gave a significant message to care for the planet and a prayer for world peace alongside other religious leaders at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. He also visited the Roman Catholic Church at East Harlem and met students and immigrant families.Catholic people were fascinated with his visit and would describe his masses as surreal.
The Pope’s last stop was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first thing the Pope did while in Philadelphia, was hold a mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. He then visited the Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Prayer Vigil with World Meeting of Families. The next day Pope Francis met with Bishops and held another mass for World Meeting of Families. Before the Pope departed for Rome at 8 pm, he met with organizers and volunteers
of the World Meeting of Families.
The Pope’s visit left a long lasting impact on the U.S. citizens.
Jairo Echeverria, currently a sophomore at APB, said, “The Pope’s visit impacts the U.S. religiously because he is very famous. It is amazing to see him come to America and try to improve the religious society.” Jairo also believes that the Pope’s goal for coming to America was beneficial for the U.S., in terms of religion.
After the Pope’s visit to the U.S., Karla shows her respect towards the Pope for being a different kind of Pope, a more liberal Pope.
“I have more respect for him than the other ones [popes] because he is showing that he cares and he has a lot of respect for us,” said Karla Raygoza, a junior at APB.
Additionally, there are many things about Pope Francis that are different from other Popes.
Andrew Mendoza, a math teacher at APB, said, “ I think he did speak to Congress and he brought up climate change and other issues. He is kind of forcing politicians to take a stance on these issues.” Mr. Mendoza believes the Pope is very influential and concerned with the well being of the world.
Overall, Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S seemed to impact people in a positive way. His influential speeches and homilies give people stronger faith and hope for the future.
(Pope Francis Visit 2015)