Pope Francis marks a milestone Thursday as he takes the podium to give the first papal speech ever during a joint session of Congress.
The landmark event has sparked a frenzy around the House chamber as people scramble for what is being called the "hottest ticket in Washington." Lawmakers, who were each given a guest ticket, used inventive ways to decide who can be their lucky plus-one, through lotteries, essay contests and family ties.
But with all the hype and excitement also comes anxiety that the pontiff could get a little "political."
"He is a pastoral leader... he is not trying to be a politician," University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins told "CBS This Morning" Thursday. He also acknowledged that while the pontiff is "clear about his views," they "come from a place of a kind of moral and spiritual message."
Francis arrives as Congress -- nearly a third of which is Catholic, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- remains deeply divided, and the pontiff has been vocal about his support for politically hot issues, including immigration and climate change.
But Jenkins said the pope's address was more of an opportunity to bring the sides together by creating a sense of warmth and community.
"I believe the pope is a moral and spiritual figure that can draw us out of those divisions and that acrimony to really something higher," said Jenkins, who has a lucky seat in the House chamber to hear the pope speak. "It is a call to me to be a better pastor, a better person. Whenever I see the pope, I walk away committed to do a better job, and I hope we as a nation can walk away with the same feeling."
Francis will address Congress in English, the second of four such speeches he had planned for his U.S. trip.