WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The itinerary for Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States was released Tuesday. His first stop is DC and the planning is underway.
Marcus Washington has more on how Baltimore is taking part in this US visit from the Holy Father.
In 85 days, the Pope will arrive in the US, beginning a six day tour along the East Coast from DC to New York City. It’s bringing excitement to a lot of people here in Baltimore.
For the first time in his life, Pope Francis will visit the United States.
“It’s not just the official of the head of the church, it’s the visit of our spiritual father,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.
The Holy Father will arrive in Washington DC on September 22. He’ll meet with President Barack Obama the following day at 9:15 a.m. at the White House. During the same day, he will hold mid-day prayer with bishops of the United States at St. Matthew’s Cathedral at 11:30 and at 4:15, the Pontiff will hold Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine—which will likely be one of the only stops a crowd will be able to get a glimpse of the Pope while in DC.
“He speaks in such an inviting way and he keeps reminding all of us that there is a spiritual dimension to our life,” said Wuerl.
Pope Francis’ visit continues Thursday, when he’s scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress at 9:20. At 11:15, he will visit St. Patrick in the city and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington before he boards a plane at Joint Base Andrews at 4, heading to New York City.
The Pope will spend one full day in New York City before heading to Philadelphia. That’s where hundreds of people from Baltimore will travel to take part in the largest Mass during the Pope’s visit to the United States.
“So we’ve got four buses in Anne Arundel County in Davidsonville, five in Frederick, 25 or 26 in Baltimore County and then one of each bus at four parishes that have a full bus committed to itself,” said Chris Gunty.
Gunty, with Catholic Review Media, is helping organize the pilgrimage from Baltimore to Philadelphia, where buses and trains will be able to carry nearly 2,000 people to Mass during the World Meeting of Families.
So why Philadelphia instead of DC?
“Obviously you can’t get into the White House unless you have credentials there. Even the mass at Catholic U is going to be a limited audience so we want to go to the only place where we can make sure everyone can get in,” Gunty said.