Six Days with Francis

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With nearly 8,000 journalists credentialed to follow Pope Francis during his six-day, three-city whirlwind East Coast tour, expect wall-to-wall coverage of every single aspect of the Holy Father’s visit.

Also, expect to hear a lot of Spanish. Pope Francis will deliver most addresses in Spanish, including his address to the United Nations and his homily at the canonization Mass of Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

The cornerstone of the early fall visit is the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, but the Pontiff will deliver some 18 major addresses and homilies, and preside at numerous other smaller gatherings.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provided this detailed schedule below (all times are local, with Mountain Time in parentheses).

All information was accurate at the time of publication. For up-to-date information, please visit

Stream the events live here:

Click here for an interactive map of the pope’s visit:


4 p.m. (2 p.m. MT)-Arrival from Cuba
Joint Base Andrews

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò boards the plane to greet Pope Francis, and they descend from the plane accompanied by the papal entourage.

The Holy Father is welcomed by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Other government officials expected are Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, and Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.

Also welcoming the pope are Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of the Washington Archdiocese; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, vice president of the USCCB; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of the Washington Archdiocese; Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Military Archdiocese; and others. No formal remarks are scheduled.

The papal entourage travels to the Nunciature, or residence of the papal nuncio, where the pope rests for the evening.

No public events are scheduled until the following morning.


9:15 a.m. (7:15 a.m. MT)-Official State Welcome
White House

Pope Francis arrives at the South Portico of the White House and is greeted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. On the lawn, approximately 20,000 people are in attendance. The president delivers remarks and introduces the pope. Pope Francis delivers remarks in English.

Church dignitaries present at the ceremony include Cardinal William Levada, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Adam Maida, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

Pope Francis and President Obama meet privately in the Oval Office after the ceremony. Their talks are followed by an exchange of gifts, the presentation of family members, and official photos.

Pope Francis departs the White House in the popemobile and takes a parade route between the Ellipse and a portion of the National Mall.

11:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. MT)-Midday Prayer
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle

Pope Francis arrives at the cathedral, where he is met by Msgr. W. Ronald Jameson, the rector of St. Matthew’s, and where approximately 300 U.S. bishops have assembled inside, including Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver. The pope walks down the center aisle to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for a brief prayer before being seated in front of the altar for Midday Prayer of the Divine Office. Readings and prayers are offered in Latin.

Note: There will be a moment of silence after each reading.

During the prayer, the pope addresses the bishops in Spanish. Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville and USCCB president, provide remarks.

Following the prayer, the pope meets the officers and members of the USCCB’s Administrative Committee. Before departing the cathedral, the pope blesses several commemorative plaques. He departs through the cathedral’s rectory doors.

4:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. MT)-Mass of Canonization of Blessed Junípero Serra
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Catholic University of America

The Holy Father arrives at the headquarters of the USCCB, where he will transfer into the popemobile to move among the faithful gathered on the grounds of The Catholic University of America.

The pope enters the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where approximately 3,600 U.S. seminarians and men and women novices seated in the upper church greet him.

Cardinal Wuerl and Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the Basilica, accompany the pope to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for private prayer. The pope then walks across the sanctuary to the vesting area before stepping onto the east portico for Mass.

The pope celebrates Mass on the east side steps of the Basilica, with approximately 25,000 faithful. The Mass is celebrated in Spanish, and the homily is given in Spanish.

During the Mass, he canonizes Junípero Serra, 1713-1784, a Franciscan who founded nine missions in present-day California. The cause for Serra’s canonization began in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno in 1934. On September 25, 1988, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Serra International, founded to foster and affirm vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life, was established in his honor. He is known as the “Apostle of California”; his life and his mission system are studied in California schools.


9:20 a.m. (7:20 a.m. MT)-Address to Joint Meeting of Congress
U.S. Capitol

Pope Francis is the first pope to address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress. He enters the U.S. Capitol on the East Front. After a private meeting with the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, he enters the House chamber. Remarks are in English.

After he finishes the address, the pope walks through Statuary Hall, pausing in front of a statue of Junípero Serra and observing a gift of the St. John’s Bible, a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by St. John’s Abbey and the University of Collegeville, MN.

From the balcony on the West Front of the Capitol, he greets 50,000 guests.

11:15 a.m. (9:15 a.m. MT)-Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities

Pope Francis addresses a group of 200 Catholic Charities clients in Spanish, many of whom are low-income, have received clinical, mental health, and medical care, and/or are immigrants. They represent more than 120,000 men, women, and children served by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington each year.

The pope walks down the center of the aisle with Cardinal Wuerl and Msgr. Salvatore Criscuolo, pastor of St. Patrick’s. He exits through a side door to go into the main headquarters of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. The pope blesses their chapel before exiting through the main doors of Catholic Charities on to G Street, NW. Outside on G Street, many of the homeless clients of Catholic Charities are receiving a meal from the St. Maria’s Meals Program.

4 p.m. (2 p.m. MT)-Pope Francis departs for New York City

Plane departs Joint Base Andrews to New York. At approximately 5 p.m. (3 p.m. MT), the papal plane arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport, located in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Greeting him at his arrival is Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn and Archbishop Bernadito Cleopas Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Pope Francis is immediately transported via helicopter to the Wall Street Heliport, then via motorcade to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

At a point between the Wall Street Heliport and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he moves into the popemobile for the final segment, arriving at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the open vehicle.

7 p.m. (5 p.m. MT)-Vespers
Cathedral of St. Patrick

Pope Francis is welcomed to the cathedral by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Others present include Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The pope prays Vespers, or evening prayer, with the bishops, priests, deacons, and lay faithful who represent the Catholic Church in New York. Cardinal Dolan delivers words of gratitude as part of the concluding rites. The pope blesses a commemorative plaque before the final blessing and dismissal.


8:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. MT)-United Nations

The fourth pope to address the United Nations (UN), Pope Francis comes to the UN as it marks its 70th anniversary and at a time when member states will take major decisions about sustainable development, climate change, and the future peace and well-being of humankind. The pope’s address is in Spanish. During the visit, the pope will also have bilateral meetings with the secretary-general and the president of the general assembly and will participate in a town hall gathering with United Nations staff.

11:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. MT)-Multi-Religious Service
Ground Zero Memorial

On leaving the motorcade, Pope Francis walks to the south Reflection Pool, situated where the towers of the World Trade Center stood. He pauses at the pool before one of the bronze panels that contain the names of the nearly 3,000 children, women, and men killed during the attacks of 1993 and 2001. He briefly greets members of the 9/11 community and is escorted into the Museum to Foundation Hall, where an audience of
700 representatives of religious communities greets him.

Members of the religious communities offer meditations on peace, first in the sacred tongue and then in English. An exchange of peace is offered. The pope is escorted to an exhibit of steel formed in a cross and a Bible found at the site after 9/11.

4 p.m. (2 p.m. MT)-Our Lady Queen of Angels School, Harlem

Our Lady Queen of Angels School has served the East Harlem community for more than 120 years. Pope Francis will visit a classroom to meet with third- and fourth-grade students from the four Catholic schools in Harlem, and then visit the gym to meet with immigrants who have been assisted by the services of Catholic Charities of the archdiocese.

Departing from the school, Pope Francis uses the popemobile to move through Central Park on his way to Mass at Madison Square Garden.

6 p.m. (4 p.m. MT)-Mass
Madison Square Garden

Upon entering the building, Pope Francis moves among the congregants in the popemobile. He disembarks and is led to the papal sacristy, where he prepares for the celebration of Mass with more than 20,000 inside the arena. The Mass is celebrated in Latin, Spanish, and English. Prayers of the Faithful are offered in several languages, including Polish, German, and Italian.


8:40 a.m. (6:40 a.m. MT)-Pope Francis departs for Philadelphia

Pope Francis departs from JFK airport and arrives at the Philadelphia International Airport, Atlantic Aviation, at approximately 9:30 a.m. He is met by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Others present include Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf; Mrs. Frances Wolf; Mayor of Philadelphia Michael A. Nutter and Mrs. Lisa Wolf; Mr. Robert J. Ciaruffoli, president of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia 2015; and Mrs. Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia 2015.

A family from the archdiocese presents the pope with the Pennsylvania state flower, the mountain laurel. The Bishop Shanahan Catholic High School band provides music for the event. The pope is joined in the entourage by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Archbishop Chaput.

10:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. MT)-Mass
Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia

Pope Francis is welcomed by a children’s choir and is informally greeted by Pennsylvania Governor Emeritus Tom Corbett and Mrs. Susan Corbett. Welcoming him to the cathedral is the rector, Fr. G. Dennis Gill. Lay representatives from the 219 parishes of the archdioceses, representatives of the religious women’s and men’s communities that serve in the archdiocese, and the bishops of the Province of Pennsylvania are present for the Mass.

The Mass is celebrated in Latin, Spanish, and English. The pope will deliver his homily in Spanish.

12:50 p.m. (10:50 a.m. MT)-Arrival at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

The rector of the seminary, Bishop Timothy Senior, with a choir of 150 seminarians, meets the Holy Father outside at the main entrance. Upon entering the main building, the pope is met by a group of nine persons with cognitive challenges and/or disabilities and their caregivers from St. Edmonds Home for Children, Divine Providence Village, and Don Guanella School at Don Guanella Village.

4:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. MT)-Independence Mall

Independence Hall is a symbolic place in the history of the city and the country. It is the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted. Pope Francis speaks from a simple lectern, which was used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.

The pope arrives at Independence Mall and moves among the crowd in the popemobile. Before entering Independence Hall he is presented a five-foot “cruz de los encuentros.” The cross is a symbol of the past, present, and future of the Hispanic community, and it will travel throughout the country in preparation of the “V Encuentro—Pueblo Hispano/Latino, Discipulos en Misión” scheduled for January 2017.

Presenting the cross on behalf of the Hispanic community are Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, CA; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, TX; Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, CA; and a family of seven who have immigrated to the United States from Mexico. The pope addresses the crowd in Spanish.

6:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. MT)-Festival of Families
Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Colombian pop star Juanes, along with The Philadelphia Orchestra, headline the Saturday Festival of Families, one of the concluding events of the World Meeting of Families. Co-sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society.

Being held in the United States for the first time ever, the official theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

Before bidding Pope Francis farewell, Archbishop Chaput asks the Holy Father to put the final brush stroke on the mural for the World Meeting of Families’ The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century, created by artist Cesar Viveros and painted by members of the community at paint days throughout the summer and by attendees of the World Meeting of Families Congress.


9:15 a.m. (7:15 a.m. MT)-Meeting with Bishops
St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

Pope Francis meets with bishops from throughout the world who have been attending the World Meeting of Families during the week, along with bishops from the United States. Established in 1832, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary provides priestly formation for men preparing to minister in Philadelphia and other dioceses throughout the United States. St. John Paul II also visited the seminary in 1979.

11 a.m. (9 a.m. MT)-Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

Opening in 1995, Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF) is the largest Philadelphia Prison System facility.

The prison was named in honor of Warden Patrick Curran and Deputy Warden Robert Fromhold, who were killed at Philadelphia’s Holmesburg prison in the line of duty in 1973. Commissioner of the City Prisons, Louis Giorla, opens the program and introduces Archbishop Chaput. The inmates and staff of CFCF have created and built the chair being used by Pope Francis for the visit. Pope Francis speaks in Spanish and greets some of the inmates, family members, and staff of the facility.

4 p.m. (2 p.m. MT)-Mass Conclusion of World Meeting of Families
Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Pope Francis departs from St. Charles Borremeo Seminary and transfers into the popemobile at Logan Circle. He moves among those gathered for the concluding Mass of the Apostolic Journey and the World Meeting of Families. The Mass is celebrated in Latin, English, and Spanish; the pope delivers his homily in Spanish.

7 p.m. (5 p.m. MT)-Gesture of Gratitude
Atlantic Aviation

In private, the pope greets Vice President Joseph Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and members of their family. He then enters Hangar One, where there are 500 members of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia 2015, leadership, sponsors, partners, and volunteers who have been viewing the Mass from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on large screens. The pope greets the audience in English and offers his blessing.

The Pope departs for Rome.

COMING UP: Father and son, deacon and priest: Deacon dads and priest sons share special bond as both serve God’s people

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The bond between a father and son is one of God’s greatest designs; however, when father and son are both called to serve the Church as deacon and priest, that bond takes on a whole new meaning. Just ask these two dads and their sons, all of whom answered the call to serve the people of God at the altar.

Deacon Michael Magee serves at Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Foxfield, while his son Father Matthew Magee has worked as the priest secretary to Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila for the past several years and will soon be moved to a new assignment as parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Boulder. Deacon Darrell Nepil serves at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Denver, and his son, Father John Nepil, served at several parishes within the archdiocese before his current assignment as a professor at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary.

However different their journeys may have been, all four have something in common; mainly, that far from seeing their vocations as a reward from God, they have received them as an uncommon gift of grace that has blessed their families and individual relationships with each other abundantly, knowing that God acts in different ways to help us all get to Heaven.

Interwoven journeys

Deacon Michael Magee was ordained in May 2009, at the end of Father Matt’s first year of seminary. Little did they know that God would use both of their callings to encourage each other along the journey.

Deacon Michael’s journey began when a man from his parish was ordained a deacon.

“I simply felt like God was calling me to do something more than I was doing at the present time,” he said. “I had been volunteering for a number of different things and was involved in some ministry activities and in the Knights of Columbus. And I thought the idea of being a deacon would be simply another activity for which I could volunteer.”

He didn’t know what it entailed at the time. In fact, he believed it was something a man could simply sign up for. To his surprise, the diaconate was more serious – and it required five years of formation and discernment. Yet he was so drawn to it, that he decided to do it anyway. But as he learned more about the nature of the diaconate during his formation, he became more nervous and unsure about whether God was really calling him to that vocation. 

While his doubts remained all the way up to his ordination, Deacon Michael was faithful to his studies, trusting that God would lead him in the right path. 

And God did — through the calling of his own son to the priesthood.

Deacon Michael didn’t realize that his son Matthew had paid close attention to his father’s faith journey and had found in it a light that gave him courage to discern the priesthood.

Father Matthew Magee (left) and his dad, Deacon Michael Magee (right), were both encouraging to one another as they each pursued their respective vocations. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

“Seeing my dad, as a father, growing in his relationship with the Lord was really influential for me on my own desire to follow Christ,” said Father Matt. “Looking at his courage to discern his own vocation and follow God’s plan in his life gave me the strength and courage to be open to the same thing in my life… He played a very important role, whether he knew it or not at the time, and whether I knew it or not at the time.”

On the other hand, Father Matt didn’t know that his dad was in turn encouraged by his own response to God’s calling. 

“As I went through all those doubts, I watched Matthew’s journey in seminary and listened to how he was dealing with that in his life. And, as he just articulated very well, I also saw those same qualities in him,” Deacon Michael said. “Seeing a young man in his 20s willing to consider following God for the rest of his life also gave me the courage to continue on in my own journey, to see it through.”

God’s way of uplifting them in their vocations through each other’s journey is something they are very grateful for. 

This unusual grace impacted Father Matt during his first Mass, when his dad, as deacon, approached him before the Gospel reading and asked for the traditional blessing by calling him “father.”

“It was a really special moment for me. He’s certainly my biological father and raised me. But then there’s something different when we’re at the altar in a clerical capacity — there’s a strange reversal of roles when we’re giving spiritual nourishment to the people — a father asks the new father for the blessing,” he said.

In both of their vocations, Deacon Michael and Father Matt see God’s Providence and the unique plan he has for all of us.

“We all have a vocation, even if it’s something we may not expect,” Deacon Michael concluded. “You may feel anxiety or worry about what it’s going to look like, but trust in God. He will take care of things as he always does.”

A bribe for Heaven

For Deacon Darell and Father John Nepil, the journey was different, but not any less providential.

While he grew up Catholic, Father John wasn’t interested in setting foot on any Church activity during his teenage years. His saving grace was perhaps what many parents have to do to get their teenagers to Church: bribe them.

“His mom and I basically bribed him to go to the Steubenville of the Rockies Conference,” Deacon Darell said with a laugh. “He didn’t want to go, but we’d heard so many good things about it, that we said, ‘We’re going to make this happen, whatever it takes.’”

So the Nepils came up with a creative idea.

“He owed me some money for a uniform that he had needed for a job in the summer. So, I said, ‘Listen, if you go to the Steubenville of the Rockies Conference, I’ll forgive your debt. And he did, he and his brother went. And John especially came back a different boy. He literally was converted with a lightning bolt at that retreat.”

To this day, Father John marks his conversion to Christ from the summer before his senior year in high school when he attended that conference. 

As it happens with stories worth telling, the details of how much money he owed his father have varied over the years, and it’s a matter of debate among them, but Father John remembers it was close to $500.

“That’s subject to each one,” Father John said laughingly. “But what matters is that they offered to forgive my debt if I went to this retreat – it was money well spent.”

Besides this important event, Father John said that his dad influenced him in many ways by the simple fact of who he was as a father.

“My dad’s faith and moral character were a rock for me during some difficult teenage years,” he said. “He’s a great example of a man who was always faithful and lived a really outstanding moral life, but then as he deepened in love with Christ, he decided to give of himself in a more profound service.”

Father John Nepil (left) and Deacon Darrell Nepil (right) both had rather roundabout ways to their respective vocations, but they both say serving God’s people together as brothers in Holy Orders is a great joy. (Photo provided)

Besides his desire to serve and follow God, the seed that would eventually lead Deacon Darell to the diaconate was planted by a coworker, who would also take holy orders: Deacon Joe Donohoe.

“One day he said to me, ‘You should be a deacon.’ And, of course, I laughed at him and said, ‘I don’t have time for that. My life is too busy.’ But it only took him to suggest it for the idea to keep coming back to my head, and God kept nudging me. Eventually I decided I really wanted to do that,” Deacon Darell said.

The ability to share at the altar during the Mass has deepened the natural relationship of father and son and given Deacon Darell and Father John new opportunities to grow closer to God. 

One of the most meaningful times came when Deacon Darell had a massive stroke in 2018. While he was in the hospital, Father John was able to visit and celebrate Mass at his bed and pray the rosary with him every day, as he had come back from Rome and was working on his dissertation.

“It was probably the most privileged and intimate time I’ve ever had with my father,” Father John said. “It was an amazing gift that really changed our relationship.”

“I feel like that’s a huge reason why I healed and why I am here today,” Deacon Darell added.

“It’s a real gift to have my dad as a deacon and a brother. It’s a tremendous honor. It’s one of the great joys of my life.” Father John concluded. “That’s really what has bonded our relationship together: the sheer desire to serve Jesus, especially in holy orders.”