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Pope in the District!


This past Tuesday through Thursday Pope Francis paid a visit to DC, generating a lot of excitement. This trip had many firsts: the first pope from the Americas, his first visit to the U.S., and the first time a pope addressed Congress.

Despite all the attention he has received as the pope he has taken a vow of poverty and actually lives very simply: in a guest house in the Vatican instead of the papal apartment, as other popes have. Pope Francis does not wear the traditional flashy red shoes but simple lace-up ones. He does not travel in an SUV but in simple cars, like Fiat and Ford Focus, which are dwarfed by the limos and SUVs in his entourage. Though Pope Francis is a traditional pope, he challenges Catholics to think about  pressing issues that the world is facing. In his address to Congress he mentioned immigration, climate change, and other controversial issues in the United States.

Huge crowds welcomed the pope.  Starting at at 4 am  Wednesday, people lined up to see him. Hispanic immigrants were rallying on the same day the pope was to take advantage and call attention to the plight of immigrants. A 5 year old girl named Sophie Cruz  broke through security lines to deliver an important message to the pope, as he received her with a big smile. In her letter she wrote of the injustices undocumented immigrants have faced, the fear of her parents being deported, and how all immigrants deserve a life of dignity and respect. Sophie’s moment with the pope was  one of the most iconic images of his  visit and papacy which have been marked by hope for the most vulnerable.

Pope Francis is also visiting New York and Pennsylvania as part of his visit to the U.S.  As the biggest spiritual leader in the world, his visit has generated a lot of excitement. For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, his visit to DC and to the US has been moving and memorable.


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