Washington: In a rare departure from protocol, the president, vice-president and their families turned up to greet the pontiff, underlining the huge expectations for a historic visit which will include talks at the White House and addresses to Congress, the United Nations and vast crowds in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
The US and Vatican flags fluttered from the cockpit as the papal plane taxied to a halt where an honour guard, dignitaries, clerics and schoolchildren waited. A high school band had set the mood earlier with a rendition of Pharrell Williams’ Happy.
The 78-year-old Catholic leader smiled broadly as he touched US soil for the first time – and promptly received his first taste of US informality in the form of chants of “Francisco” and “Hey hey, ho ho, welcome to the USA!” (Rory Carroll- The Guardian)
Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia this weekend after stops in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The World Meeting of Families will start on Tuesday, September 22nd. Pope Francis will visit on Saturday, September 26th and Sunday, September 27th.
The itinerary for the pope includes eight public events in the city, including his arrival and departure from Atlantic Aviation.
He’ll visit the Independence Mall, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and of course, the Ben Franklin Parkway.
The archdiocese is expecting a million and a half people to crowd the Parkway as the pope celebrates an open air mass at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Earlier in the day he will celebrate mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. That will be an invitation only event with tickets issued to just 1,600 people.
The pope will be staying at St. Charles Boromeo Seminary on City Avenue. He will greet the seminarians there when he arrives Saturday.
Sunday morning at the seminary he will address the cardinals and bishops who will be in town for the World Meeting of Families. He will then head to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia where he will meet with prisoners and select families.
The pontiff’s itinerary for his visit to the United States.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (WASHINGTON, DC)
4:00 p.m. Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (WASHINGTON, DC)
9:15 a.m. Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House
11:00 a.m. Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall (time approximate)
11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
4:15 p.m. Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK CITY)
9:20 a.m. Address to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress
11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
4:00 p.m. Depart from Joint Base Andrews
5:00 p.m. Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
6:45 p.m. Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (NEW YORK CITY)
8:30 a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
4:00 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
5:00 p.m. Procession through Central Park (time approximate)
6:00 p.m. Mass at Madison Square Garden
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (PHILADELPHIA)
9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation
10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
4:45 p.m. Independence Mall Address (This event is open to the public.)
7:30 p.m. Festival of Families on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (This event is open to the public.)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (PHILADELPHIA)
9:15 a.m. Meeting with Bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
11:00 a.m. Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility Visit
4:00 p.m. Papal Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (This event is open to the public.)
8:00 p.m. Departure from Atlantic Aviation.