When Pope Francis comes to the United States later this month, it won't just be his first visit as Pope. It will be his first time in the country ever. Some Americans are already beginning to welcome him online.
People are tweeting and posting videos to Facebook with personalized messages for the Pope. They're organized under the hashtag "SayHItoFrancis.”
"We've got just under two more weeks before Pope Francis steps foot in Washington. So I just hope that many more people will take advantage to say 'Hi' to Francis.”
A recent poll showed that about half of Americans are unaware of the upcoming pastoral trip. The organizers of the campaign are hoping they'll inform people and also help those who can't make it to the East Coast for his visit.
"I think also especially for people who live far away, the United States is a very big country, so for people who are not going to be able to travel to Philadelphia, New York, or Washington, it's a great way to participate in this historic moment.”
Since it's Pope Francis' first visit, it will go a long way in shaping how he feels about the United States.
"I hope that he feels very welcomed and very loved when he's there. And also that he feels that he can count on us. In fact, he already does ask of us to be generous. We're a very prosperous country. We are lucky to have a lot of the resources that we have. And I think that he recognizes that and asks us to think about others. What more can we do? And I hope that he feels that he can depend on us.”
Keefe said that while the messages aren't part of a formal plan, she hopes that they'll spread enough throughout the U.S. that the Pope eventually takes notice.