The Visit of Pope Francis: A Time of Grace and Spiritual Renewal in Our Nation’s Capital

Pope IN DC

Earlier today, the announcement from the Holy See confirmed and offered details concerning the schedule for Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to the United States in September. It is a joy to share this information with you.

Our Holy Father will begin his first visit to this country as Chief Shepherd of the Church Universal here in our nation’s capital. The theme of his visit to our local Church is “Share the Joy, Walk with Francis.” As we look forward to this time of grace there will be abundant opportunities to share our joy with others and join our Holy Father in bringing Christ’s love to those we encounter in our pilgrim journey.

Our joy is rooted in the realization that Pope Francis is the successor of Saint Peter in his ministry as head of the Church and Vicar of Christ. In his voice we hear the echoes of Peter’s proclamation of the Good News.

Pope Francis will arrive in Washington on the evening of September 22. The next morning, he begins a busy day with a visit to President Barack Obama at the White House. From this encounter he will journey to the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle where he will meet with the bishops of the United States. In the afternoon of that same day, September 23, our Holy Father will celebrate Mass on the East Portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which adjoins the campus of The Catholic University of America. Junípero Serra will be canonized at this Eucharistic Liturgy, which will be celebrated in Spanish, the native language of this extraordinary evangelizer and millions of people in the Americas. Provision is being made to accommodate a large number of people on the campus of CUA.

On Thursday, September 24, Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of both Houses of Congress in the morning. From there, our Holy Father who calls us to see the face of Christ in those on the margins will go to Saint Patrick’s Church in downtown Washington and to the headquarters of Catholic Charities to meet and minister to some of our needy sisters and brothers.

There are many ways to get involved now in the excitement of our Holy Father’s visit – to rejoice in the love of God and show how we join with the Pope in his commitment to mercy and the building of a culture of inclusion and solidarity. The archdiocese will be announcing in the coming weeks a variety of initiatives and programs for individuals, groups, parishes, schools and businesses to further participate in this time of grace and opportunity.

From Washington, our Holy Father will travel to New York, where he will speak to the United Nations on September 25, before moving on to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. The theme for this latter gathering is “Love is our Mission” and here we will be reminded of the love that God has for all his children and how we are called to share that love with all our sisters and brothers in the human family.

Regarding the events mentioned in this blog, more information will be provided as it becomes available. At a later date, an invitation will go to priests around the country to concelebrate at the September 23 Canonization Mass at the Shrine and information will also be sent to the parishes concerning tickets that are available for that same Mass. As soon as a final determination is made about the number of seats that will be open to the archdiocese, the invitation to parishes to obtain tickets will be sent to pastors.

As we look forward to the arrival of Pope Francis, the 265th Successor of Saint Peter, I encourage you to follow along on archdiocesan social media, including #PopeInDC, and to visit our archdiocesan website,, for papal visit information and to sign up to receive updates via text or email.