*Originally published on RYOT.org on September 2nd, 2015 by Sean Sawyer*
For the first time in his life, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, will visit the United States. This is the first time since 2008 that a Pope has visited America by making a quick East Coast trip to the US and with many hot topic issues on hand, this visit should be eventful and historic.
Where Will He Go?
The Pope will touchdown in Washington D.C. on September 22nd. He will travel the area attending various churches and meeting the people of the area. But most importantly, the Pope will visit and meet with President Obama on September 23rd, then address a joint meeting of Congress the following day.
After D.C., Pope Francis will head north to New York City on September 24th. He plans to be the fourth Pope to address the UN General Assembly on the 24th. Besides that, he will visit some schools and churches and Ground Zero. Francis will also celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden on September 25th.
Finally, the Pope will end his tour in Philadelphia. He will travel the area and celebrate mass with some musical help by Andrea Bocelli. He also plans to visit a maximum security prison where he will meet certain prisoners and their families. The Pope will then leave and head back to Rome on September 27th.
What Will He Preach?
Pope Francis has an extremely large influence in the world and he has used his influence to ignite change.
Expect him to engage the US Congress and UN about the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. On Sunday, the Pope offered special prayers to the 71 refugees that were found dead in a truck in Austria.
The Pope may tie this into the ongoing immigration debate in America. As the border between the US and Mexico is becoming a hotter topic as the 2016 Presidential election carries on, US Ambassador to theVatican, Kenneth Hackett, offers his opinion on what the Pope will say about immigration reform to the Associated Press. “I think he’ll call us to continue to engage with it (the world), don’t throw any walls up around our nation, don’t revert to isolationism,” he said. “We are a nation of welcoming people, so that’s where I think he will put his attention.”
Another topic the Pope will most likely address while he is on the world’s stage is the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa. Many Christians have died at the hands of Islamic radicals as movements like the Islamic State have grown more powerful. ”I have to believe that he will reiterate that value of mercy that he has brought up in so many other endeavors,” Hackett adds.
Obama and Francis
These two world leaders get along with each other very well. They agree on a lot of human rights policies like poverty and immigration, but nothing more than their view on the environment. The Pope is well known for his call to action to the current generation about the ongoing environmental crisis.
Obama called Pope Francis a “transformative leader” and that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as how much respect Obama has for Pope Francis.
“I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’s encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope’s decision to make the case – clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position – for action on global climate change,” Obama speaks about Pope Francis. “As we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders and all God’s children will reflect on Pope Francis’s call to come together to care for our common home. We have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children’s children, from the damaging impacts of climate change.”
The Visit Will be Packed
Many people are expected to flood the streets of DC, New York, and Philadelphia. Prior to his visit people have been making Pope Francis cologne, YOPO (You Only Pope Once) microbrews, and even a Pope Francis bobblehead with boxing gloves and a cheesesteak in his hands for his visit to Philly. More Pope paraphernalia should be flooding the market soon.
As far as sheer numbers go, the streets will be packed. Even the Temple University Hospital in Philly is making preparations for their staff. Because many will not want to travel through the streets, the hospital is offering cots and air mattresses for those who wish to sleepover at the hospital in between their shifts.