The US House Speaker has announced that Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress on September 24, making him the first leader of the Holy See to do so, reports the Catholic News Service.
The Speaker, John Boehner, noted that "in a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father's message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another."
"We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people," he added.
A statement from the Archdiocese of Washington called it "a great honour and tremendous joy to welcome our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the Archdiocese of Washington during his proposed pastoral visit to the United States in September."
The statement said the announced visit "will be a time of grace for all of us." It also said the Archdiocese looks forward "to the official announcement of more details of the visit."
Photo: Pope Francis is cheered by faithful upon his arrival for the weekly general audience at the Vatican (AP)