Pope Francis has been invited by US House Speaker John Boehner to speak to a joint session of Congress, reports US ABC News.
Congressman Boehner extended the formal invitation in a letter to the Vatican — on the first anniversary of Francis' papacy — saying the Holy Father has 'awakened hearts on every continent.'
'Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service,' Boehner wrote.
'His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us — the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn — has awakened hearts on every continent.'
Boehner, a Catholic, said the Pope’s message 'challenges people of all faiths, ideologies and political parties.'
Since Pope Paul VI made his first papal visit to the United States in 1965, three popes have come to America. John Paul II, who came to the United States seven times, visited with every president from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton.
A pope has visited the United Nations four times, but none has ever addressed the House and Senate during a joint session.
FULL STORY Pope Francis invited to address joint session of US Congress (ABC News - US)