Looking to snag the Pope's blessing during his visit to Washington later this year? It might be worth a campout on the Capitol lawn.
Speaker John Boehner's office announced Wednesday that Pope Francis's joint address to Congress on September 24 will be broadcast live on the West Front of the Capitol building. Jumbotrons will be erected outside the building for public viewing in the space where presidential inaugurations and last week's Fourth of July concert are held.
Though the West Front has played host to other events in the past, this Jumbotron setup appears to have no precedent.
Calling his visit a "historic moment for the country," the speaker said in a press release that His Holiness has also "expressed an interest in making a brief appearance" on the West Front that day.
Demand for tickets to the floor speech are expected to be high, and requests will be handled through congressional offices and House officers. Information about tickets for the live broadcast will be available by the end of this month.
Washington is the first stop for the Pope, who's scheduled to meet with President Obama and visit D.C. cathedrals in the day before his Capitol speech. During the last few days of his visit, he'll make stops in New York before traveling to Philadelphia for his trip's main event, the Papal Mass for the World Meeting of Families.
Boehner invited Pope Francis to the Capitol back in March 2014, and his invitation was accepted in February.
In February, Boehner noted that the Pope "will become the first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress."
"In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father's message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds," Boehner said in a press release at the time. "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."
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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