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Rome Reports

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Fifth anniversary of pope's trip to U.S. He spoke in Congress and visited Ground Zero


On Sept. 22, 2015, Pope Francis' plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base, where Barack Obama and his family were waiting to welcome him.

From then on, Pope Francis traveled in a Fiat 500 that was prepared for the occasion. 

A day later, the official welcome ceremony was held at the White House, where the pope expressed his gratitude for the restored diplomatic relations with Cuba. 

POPE FRANCIS
“The efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom.”

BARACK OBAMA
Former President of the United States
“In your humility, your embrace of simplicity, the gentleness of your words, and the generosity of your spirit, we see a living example of Jesus' teachings.”

During his visit to the United States, the pope beatified Friar Junípero Serra, one of the country's most important Catholic missionaries.

He also addressed Congress, the core of the country's political system.

“Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you Pope Francis of the Holy See.”

POPE FRANCIS
“You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.” “Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'”

He addressed topics such as the admission of refugees and immigrants; the family and the death penalty. Congress members applauded him more than 20 times.

The pope also traveled to New York. At Ground Zero, he greeted relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. 

There he prayed together with representatives of other religions and recalled the heroism of the firemen who entered the towers in order to save lives.

POPE FRANCIS
“This place of death became a place of life too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.”

The pope also celebrated a Mass at Madison Square Garden.

He also visited a school in Harlem.

The third stage of his trip took place in Philadelphia, where he spoke at the World Meeting of Families. 

There, he heard stories of families from every continent, and he invited them to overcome their daily obstacles with a good sense of humor. 

POPE FRANCIS
“Families quarrel. Sometimes plates can fly. Children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mothers-in-law.”

He celebrated a Mass in that very place and gave them a piece of advice for life.

POPE FRANCIS
“I leave you with this question, for each one of you to respond to: In my home, do we yell, or do we speak with love and tenderness? This is a good way to recognize our love.”

The pope also visited a prison. The experience was full of moving moments.

He also met privately with victims of abuse and explained to U.S. bishops how that meeting went. 

POPE FRANCIS
“It continues to make me feel overwhelmingly ashamed that people who were in charge of the tender care of those small children violated them and caused them serious harm.

POPE FRANCIS
“I agree with the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and promise that those responsible will pay.”

From Philadelphia, he set off back to Rome. There, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden went to the airport to give the pope a farewell and thank him for his visit. 

JMB

Translation: CC