Pope Francis addresses Congress, greets crowds

Pope Francis set to address Congress in historic speech
US Capitol (Source: James deGraauw/WAFB)
US Capitol (Source: James deGraauw/WAFB)
Thousands are waiting near the US Capitol to see the pope. (Source: James deGraauw/WAFB)
Thousands are waiting near the US Capitol to see the pope. (Source: James deGraauw/WAFB)

WASHINGTON, DC (WAFB) - Pope Francis became the first pontiff in history to address a joint meeting of the US Congress when he went before the national legislative body Thursday morning.

He urged senators and representatives to embrace immigrants.

The pope began his Tuesday with kids cheering and feeling his touch. His presence touched the many thousands there for even a glimpse.

"It was just a blessing to be able to be here and to see it from home because we consider this our home," said Rica Terico.

She is from Bolivia and lives in nearby Arlington.

"I like to describe to people that he's actually made my job a lot easier," Robb Tassman, executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, said.

It is based in Baton Rouge and serves as a political liaison between church and government.

"Climate change is a problem we can no longer be left to our future generations," Pope Francis said from the White House.

"There's a real sense of wonder, of what exactly he's going to say in front of Congress. I think what he can do now, potentially, in front of Congress is use that forum as a way to encourage United States politicians to push reforms within those areas," Tassman added.

The pope left for New York on Thursday night.

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