US & World

Pope Francis visits White House for meeting with Obama

Pope Francis departs in a Fiat after arriving from Cuba September 22, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Francis will be visiting Washington, New York City and Philadelphia during his first trip to the United States as Pope. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis departs in a Fiat after arriving from Cuba September 22, 2015 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Francis will be visiting Washington, New York City and Philadelphia during his first trip to the United States as Pope. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

In a much-anticipated visit, Pope Francis arrived at the White House Wednesday morning, where he's meeting with President Obama and will address a crowd of more than 11,000 people, before embarking on a short parade for thousands more well-wishers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqjwWOgvYGM

Later today, Francis will meet with U.S. bishops. And in the afternoon, he'll hold a canonization Mass in honor of Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

On Thursday, the pope will address Congress. We'll update this post with news from the pope's visit to Washington.

Update at 9:29 a.m. ET: A small parade

A red-coated band is parading, playing their way around the White House's South Lawn.

Update at 9:22 a.m. ET: Pope arrives

Arriving to applause, Pope Francis gets out of his Fiat and greets the Obamas on the red carpet. Then he and the president walk to a dais outfitted with a podium.

Then they listen to the Vatican City national anthem — followed by the U.S. national anthem.

Update at 9:21 a.m. ET: Obamas emerge

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have emerged to wait on the red carpet.

Update at 9:18 a.m. ET: Thousands gathered to see Pope

Reporting from the area around the White House, NPR's Jennifer Ludden says that the gates were opened at 4 a.m. this morning to begin letting people in — and some brought sleeping bags, hoping to rest before trying to get a glimpse of the pope.

"He will have a little car that he will drive on a route kind of around the White House lawn part of the National Mall."

Jennifer adds, "He's known for jumping out sometimes and shaking hands, so people will be looking forward to that as well. He'll just do a short circuit... some government workers could get a good view — if, that is, they're able to make it into their offices today."

Security preparations for the event are roughly equal to those that would be put in place for a presidential inauguration, Jennifer says.

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