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Notre Dame’s president heads to D.C. to welcome Pope Francis

By Colleen Bormann

Groups from all over Michiana are preparing to hit the road this week in hopes of catching a glimpse of Pope Francis.

The Pope’s United States visit starts on Tuesday, September 22 when he arrives in D.C. at Joint Base Andrews. On Wednesday, he will receive a special welcoming at the White House.

Notre Dame President Reverend John Jenkins plans on attending the welcoming ceremony, as well as a special mass at Saint Matthew Cathedral. 

On Thursday, he will attend the Pope’s address to the Senate and House of Representatives. 

“It’s a wonderful series of events,” said Rev. Jenkins. “The welcome of our Father to the our nation, his first visit to the nation, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Rev. Jenkins met Pope Francis once before. In 2014, Rev. Jenkins was accompanied by members of his leadership team in Rome. They exchanged messages of support to Pope Francis during a private event in the Apostolic Palace.

“That was a very exciting event," said Rev. Jenkins. “He has a very warm presence and very welcoming.” 

Based on his encounter with the Holy Father, Rev. Jenkins says there’s no way to anticipate what he will say this week. But he says there’s no denying the influence he will have on the nation.

“Pope Francis is such a compelling figure because he speaks in powerful ways,” said Rev. Jenkins. “He has a message for us that I think is both comforting and challenging.”

Rev. Jenkins says he plans to take the Pope’s message back home.

“I’m excited and honored to be with the Holy Father and when I do that, I will remember everyone here in this area and this part of the world,” said Rev. Jenkins. “I will be praying for them and keeping them in my prayers as we celebrate this great event.”
 

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