Watch CBS News

Pope Comes To Washington: What You Need To Know

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) -- Pope Francis will spend time in Washington during his September visit, stopping at both the White House and Congress on his first trip to the United States.

WJZ will bring you complete coverage on this historical visit.

Are you heading to Washington to meet the Pope? Plan ahead! Here's everything you need to know during the September 22-24 visit in Washington, D.C:

Who is Pope Francis?

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, more commonly known as Pope Francis, is the 266th pope of the Catholic Church. He was elected on March 13, 2013, and since then he's been known for his continual engagement with western and international politics.

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he attends Weekly
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - 2015/09/16: Pope Francis greets the faithful as he attends Weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Pope Francis appealed for prayers for his Apostolic Voyage to Cuba and to the United States, which begins on Saturday. (Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Why is he coming to the states?

The Catholic church has around 1.2 billion members, and nearly 70 million of those members live in the United States. The Vatican has historically played a significant part in influencing U.S. elections and policy making when it comes to Catholic (and non-Catholic) voters.

His visit holds significance because it represents the United States' ties to the international community, and he's following a tradition that started even before his papacy.

Pope John Paul II visited the White House in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter was in office, and Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2008 when George W. Bush was in office. Although previous popes have met with U.S. presidents, the traditional White House visit didn't start until John Paul II.

When is he coming?

His first stop will be in Washington D.C. at Joint Base Andrews at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22. He's scheduled to visit Washington D.C., New York and Pennsylvania before leaving the states to return to the Vatican in Rome.

Where is he going?

On his second day in Washington D.C., Pope Francis will arrive at the White House for a State Arrival Ceremony on Wednesday, September 23 at 9:15 a.m. Afterward, he is expected to have a private, informal meeting with President Barack Obama where they will discuss various environmental, social, economic and ethical issues.

Pope Francis will then be attending the Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall at 11 a.m. He will have Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at Saint Matthew's Cathedral in D.C. at 11:30 a.m.

On Thursday, he will address the Senate and House of Representatives (Joint Session of Congress) at 9:20 a.m. That speech will be followed by his appearances at West Front of Capitol, St. Patrick's Catholic Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. He'll depart for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 4 p.m., Thursday evening.

Upon reaching New York, the following day he'll address the United Nations General Assembly at 8:30 a.m. He's scheduled to then attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for the World Trade Center at 11:30 a.m. That service will be followed by a Papal mortorcade through Central Park at 5 p.m., and his attendance at Madison Square Garden Mass that same Friday. He'll then depart for Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday, September 26 at 8:40 a.m.

After Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, he'll attend Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul at 10:30 a.m. and visit Independence Mall at 4:45 p.m.

On Sunday at 9:15 a.m., Pope Francis will have a meeting with Bishops at St. Martin's Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Afterward, he will meet with organizers and volunteers for the World Meeting of Families hosted at Atlantic Aviation at 11:30 a.m. He'll then host a mass at that same location at 4 p.m, which you can live stream here.

Pope Francis' final visit will be to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility at 7 p.m., and he will then depart for Rome at 8 p.m., Sunday evening.

How can I see him? 

If you are interested in seeing Pope Francis, here is a link to his official list of destinations. It includes which locations are open to the public and which ones require tickets.

What items are prohibited during the visit?

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide dogs
  • Backpacks exceeding size restrictions
  • Bags and signs exceeding size restrictions
  • Signs cannot be made of anything except cardboard, poster board or cloth
  • Balloons
  • Bicycles
  • Hard Sided Coolers (soft side thermal coolers are allowed)
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace/Pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Selfie sticks
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy Guns
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other item determined to be a potential hazard

*Surrendered items will not be returned, or available for pick-up.

How will this affect you?

Here is a link to the general travel information concerning how his visit will affect traffic. Commuters near the area are strongly encouraged to look through this information to see how his six-day trip will affect your getting to work.

Preview of

Preview of

Looking for some Pope gear?

Everything from key chains and t-shirts to a life-size cutout of the Pope can be found HERE.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.