Countdown to the first apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the United States: Part 1

The excitement is building:
Pope Francis arrives here in the U.S. in just 14 days! That’s just two weeks from today…
I have so many fond memories of the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI here in the United States, including three occasions where I took part. It is a thrilling experience to see the Holy Father in person, whether you are up close or far away in the crowds. For most people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 
As the clock ticks down the days and hours, the news media sources are learning more and more about the specific logistics of Pope Francis’ visit. 
Many Catholics from the Archdiocese of Baltimore will join the bus trip sponsored by Catholic Review Media for the Holy Father’s Mass in Philadelphia. Read more about that pilgrimage here.

The basics that you should you know about this historic papal visit:

1. Before arriving in the United States, Pope Francis will visit the island nation of Cuba from September 19-22. This is the third papal visit for the people of Cuba. Pope John Paul II visited in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. 
2. Following his departure from Cuba, Pope Francis will visit the United States from September 22-27. This is his first apostolic visit to our country.
3. Due to his incredible popularity, millions of people are hoping to get a glimpse of him. He will be here for six days and will visit Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. 
4. Media coverage of the papal visit will be extensive. You will be able to watch Pope Francis’ public addresses and liturgies on lifestream from the U.S. Bishops’ website, as well as on EWTN Global Catholic Network.
5. The livestream from the U.S. Bishops can be accessed here.

6. Papal visit programming will be available on demand after each event has ended here.

7. The complete list of programming on EWTN Global Catholic Network can be found here.

8. During his visit, Pope Francis will be the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress. He will also preside over the canonization of Blessed Juniper Serra. This will be the first time in history that a saint has been canonized on American soil as these sacred ceremonies usually take place at the Vatican. 

9. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have a page on their website devoted entirely to the Holy Father’s visit. You can read updates as they happen, see any schedule changes, and get breaking news.
10. Catechetical resources for all ages are available for teachers, families, and individuals who want to learn more in preparation for the visit. Among the information provided are resources on Blessed Junipero Serra, whom the Holy Father will canonize in Washington, DC on September 23, as well as on the World Meeting of Families which he will attend in Philadelphia.
11. The Baltimore Sun included “A guide to seeing the pope in Philadelphia” in their Sunday “Life & Travel” section. It provides a lot of details what to expect.
 
Here is the schedule for Pope Francis’ September 2015 Apostolic Journey to the United States of America as released by the Vatican on June 30, 2015.  
All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (WASHINGTON, DC)
▪ 4:00 p.m.    Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (WASHINGTON, DC)
▪ 9:15  a.m.  Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House
▪ 11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
▪ 4:15  p.m.  Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK CITY)
▪ 9:20  a.m.  Address to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress 
▪ 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
▪ 4:00 p.m.   Depart from Joint Base Andrews
▪ 5:00 p.m.   Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
▪ 6:45 p.m.   Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (NEW YORK CITY)
▪ 8:30  a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
▪ 11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center 
▪ 4:00  p.m.  Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
▪ 6:00  p.m.  Mass at Madison Square Garden
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (NEW YORK CITY, PHILADELPHIA)
▪ 8:40  a.m.  Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
▪ 9:30  a.m.  Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia 
▪ 10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia 
▪ 4:45  p.m.  Visit to Independence Mall
▪ 7:30  p.m.  Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (PHILADELPHIA)
▪ 9:15   a.m.  Meeting with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary 
▪ 11:00  a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility 
▪ 4:00  p.m.   Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway 
▪ 7:00   p.m.  Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation 
▪ 8:00   p.m.  Departure for Rome
Share your memories:
If you have memories to share from the visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to the United States, please email me at:
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Look for Part 2 of this series on the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in the United States here on Thursday. 

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Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.