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D.C. official: Pope visit went ‘extremely well’

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis leaves the Catholic Charities after blessing a lunch for charity workers and the needy September 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pope Francis is in the United States for six days during his first trip as the leader of the Catholic Church. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The three days of hosting Pope Francis went “extremely well,” according to a top D.C. safety official.

Kevin Donahue, D.C.’s deputy mayor for public safety, credits numbers of factors, including a flexible workforce — those who chose to stay home or telework.

“I think it made an enormous difference in allowing people who wanted to come into the city to see the Pope to be able to do so,” Donahue says.

Local and federal officials also are experienced at working together. Donahue says the Secret Service told him that of 50 similar national events, D.C. has hosted 25 of them.

But, the papal visit was different.

For starters, most large events have focal points, Donahue says. But the pontiff made multiple appearances throughout the city on the same day.

“I think D.C. responded extremely well. And when I say D.C., I mean the region,” Donahue says.

It also didn’t hurt that event participants had such good attitudes.

“It helps when you have a joyous, calm and quite frankly overwhelmingly happy group of residents and visitors going to these events,” Donahue says.

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