The pope’s D.C. itinerary

WASHINGTON — He’s only in the District for 48 hours, and Pope Francis’ schedule during his first U.S. stop in Washington is packed.

WTOP has outlined a detailed itinerary compiled from the locations he’ll be visiting, as well as the Archdiocese of Washington.

Tuesday, Sept. 22
  • 4 p.m. — The pontiff arrives at Joint Base Andrews.

The pope will travel to the U.S. following a three-day trip to Cuba. He’ll spend roughly 48 hours in the nation’s capital before traveling on to New York and then Philadelphia.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
  • 9:15 a.m. — President Barack Obama and the first lady welcome Pope Francis to the White House.

The two-hour state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn will likely include a speech by the pope as well as time for the pontiff and the president to talk. The two haven’t talked in person since Obama’s visit to the Vatican in the spring of 2014.

Pope Francis and the president plan to talk about their common interests in caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into U.S. communities, according to a statement from the White House.

  • 11:30 a.m. — Pope Francis will lead the Liturgy of Hours, the traditional daytime prayer, with American bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in D.C.

The funeral for President John F. Kennedy was held at St. Matthew’s in 1963. Pope John Paul II held Mass there in 1979.

“I look forward to his message. I don’t expect all of us will meet him one by one. That’s a lot of bishops,” said Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington of the daily prayer.

This one-hour scheduled event was ticketed through parishes in early and mid-August, St. Matthew’s says. But those who cannot get inside might be able to catch a glimpse of the pontiff entering or leaving the church on Rhode Island Avenue NW.

  • 4:15 p.m. — The pope will celebrate afternoon Mass on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

During Mass, Pope Francis will canonize Junipero Serra, a Spanish-born Franciscan friar known for starting nine Spanish missions in California in the 1700s.​ He will be the first person to be canonized on U.S. soil.

The congregation will assemble in the area surrounding the steps of the basilica, including the 3.6-acre University Mall, according to Catholic University of America.

The university campus will be closed to the general public during the event.

The Mass, scheduled for 75 minutes, will be read in Spanish and is a ticketed event. Tickets will be distributed through the parishes with an emphasis on reaching the District’s Hispanic faithful.

“I certainly know he’s going to call us as families to be missionaries of love; to extend to one another all those dimensions of the family life that help us to relate well to each other to grow in the various virtues,” Loverde said of the pope’s expected remarks during the Mass.

Thursday, Sept. 24
  • 9:20 a.m. — The pope visits the U.S. Capitol, where he will be the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of Congress.

Members of the House and Senate were given tickets to disseminate to guests to view his speech from within the House chamber and via video screens that will be set up on the West Lawn.

  • 11:15 a.m. — Pope Francis will head to St. Patrick’s Church downtown, where he’ll meet with clients associated with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.
  • 1 p.m. — For his last stop on the trip, the pope will make the short journey to the Catholic Charities headquarters, across the courtyard from the church, where he’ll have a private lunch and meet with the St. Maria Meals program.
  • ​4 ​p.m. — ​Pope Francis will ​depart​ from Joint Base Andrews and arrive in New York at 5 p.m. ​

Correction: This story has been revised to correctly state that Catholic University’s campus will be closed to the general public and that only those with tickets will be able to hear the pope celebrate Mass.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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