VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org) – For the first time in United States history, a pontiff will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. In an announcement made today by Speaker of the House John Boehner, during his weekly press conference, Pope Francis will visit the Capitol on Sept. 24.
According to Il Sismografo, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed the Holy Father’s anticipated address.
Shortly after, Speaker Boehner released a statement today and noted the significance of the event. “On that day, he will become the first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress,” the statement read. “It will be a historic visit, and we are truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation.”
Boehner said that the Holy Father’s message of compassion and dignity is crucial “in a time of global upheaval.”
“His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another,” he wrote. “We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people.”