Pope Francis will meet with homeless people, immigrants and prisoners during his trip to Cuba and the United States, and will become the first pope to address the U.S. Congress.
He’ll also preside over a meeting about religious liberty — a major issue for U.S. bishops in the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision.
Francis added the Cuba leg onto the start of his U.S. trip after helping contribute to the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.
He will arrive Sept. 22 from Cuba. In the U.S., he will visit in Washington, D.C., then visit New York City and Philadelphia. Highlights of the schedule include:
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▪ SEPT. 23
9:15 a.m.: Welcoming ceremony on South Lawn of the White House; brief remarks from Pope Francis and President Obama
4:15 p.m.: Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at the Catholic University of America
▪ SEPT. 24
9:20 a.m.: Address to joint session of Congress
11:15 a.m.: Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
Noon: Blessing and brief remarks to the clients gathered at lunchtime for the St. Maria Meals Program of Catholic Charities
6:45 p.m.: Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City
▪ SEPT. 25
8:30 a.m.: Address to the United Nations General Assembly
11:30 a.m.: Multireligious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
6 p.m.: Mass at Madison Square Garden
▪ SEPT. 26
10:30 a.m.: Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
7:30 p.m.: Visit to the Festival of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway
▪ SEPT. 27
11 a.m.: Visit to prisoners and some of their families at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
4 p.m.: Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway (more than 1 million expected)
8 p.m.: Departure for Rome
The best chance of seeing the pope live is at his final Mass in Philadelphia, though motorcade routes have not been announced.
| The Associated Press contributed to this report.