WASHINGTON, D.C – Pope Francis will make history when he addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 24.
The address will mark the first time the head of the world’s Roman Catholics will address Congress.
The trip, which is the first to the U.S. during his two-year papacy, includes a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, a speech to the United Nations in New York and a Catholic rally for families in Philadelphia.
“We’re humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
“We are eager to welcome His Holiness to the U.S. Capitol and we look forward to hearing his call to live our values, to protect the poor and the needy, and to promote peace,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a written statement.
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 31 percent of Congress is Catholic, including Boehner and Pelosi. Approximately 22 percent of all Americans are Catholic, according to the survey.
Pope Francis, 78, was elected by the College of Cardinals to replace Pope Benedict XVI in March 2103 after Benedict resigned due to his advancing age. Francis is the first ever pope from the Western Hemisphere.