Pope Francis arrived in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. His six-day American tour covers some fascinating events that include meetings with fellow faith leaders, immigrants, prisoners and the homeless. The Pontiff will have meetings with President Obama, address the U.S. Congress and speak to the United Nations. He is likely to speak about issues like immigration, sexuality and climate change.
Following are few interesting and inspiring things Pope Francis will do during his trip to the U.S.
Canonization of Father Junipero Serra
Pope Francis will canonize the 18th century missionary Junipero Serra. Serra, a Spanish-born Franciscan priest was one of the first immigrants in California. Canonization of Junipero Serra will be the first-ever canonization on U.S. soil. This ceremony will be held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Meeting with the U.S. Congress
Pope Francis will address the U.S. Congress. He will become the first Pope ever to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Many expect him to speak about a number of divisive issues. However, climate change is his top priority. He wants the world leaders to fight against global warming. He will also speak about capitalism which, according to him, is marginalizing the poor and damaging the earth.
Immigration is another issue Pope Francis will talk about. He has been calling upon the U.S. and other countries to welcome immigrants and refugees. He is likely to talk about the need to help those fleeing wars and the efforts the country needs to take to help poorer nations and resolve conflicts.
Speech to the United Nations
The Pontiff will address the United Nations in New York. There, he will address global issues and direct his speech at world leaders. His speech is likely to draw the attention of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East and Africa who are trying to save their lives by moving to Europe and the West. He is also likely to talk about environmental reform, migration and global poverty.
Meeting With the Homeless
Pope Francis will not only meet the powerful leaders but will also meet with the vulnerable citizens and immigrants. He will visit the East Harlem Catholic School. East Harlem has a large immigrant and Hispanic population. He will visit Our Lady Queen of Angels, where he will meet with poor students most of whom are immigrants and refugees. He is also scheduled to have lunch with around 300 poor and homeless people in Washington.
Speech at Independence Mall
The Pope will address religious freedom and immigration at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. These are the two main issues the Americans are struggling with. The event at the mall is likely to attract around 40,000 people.
The U.S. Congress is unable to come up with a solution to deal with the people entering to the U.S. illegally from Mexico. At the same time, the U.S. is also preparing to grant refugee status to those fleeing from Syria and the Middle East. Conservatives are against the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriages. They claim that this ruling is violating their religious beliefs. Pope Francis is expected to speak about these issues at the mall.
Visit to a Prison
Before returning to the Vatican, the Pope will visit the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia’s largest prison. Criminal justice reform is emerging in the U.S. as a hot political topic. His visit to the prison would support that reform. Pope Francis, who is against death penalty, will accept a special chair created by inmates during his visit to the prison. 100 selected inmates who have had good behavior will be allowed to meet the Pontiff along with their families.