Pope Francis to address US Congress on Sept 24

AFP , Thursday 5 Feb 2015

Pope Francis will address the US Congress on September 24, becoming the first pontiff to do so, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

"That day his holiness will be the first pope in our history to address a joint session of Congress," Boehner told reporters at the US Capitol.

"We are humbled that the holy father has accepted our invitation, and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people."

The address has been under consideration for nearly a year.

Boehner, along with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, first extended the invitation in March.

The pope confirmed late last year that he would be visiting the United States in September to take part in a Catholic Church congress in Philadelphia.

Pelosi said lawmakers were "honored and overjoyed that Pope Francis, the first pontiff born in the Americas, has accepted our invitation."

The Argentina-born pontiff "has renewed the faith of Catholics worldwide and inspired a new generation of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be instruments of peace," she added.

"We look forward to hearing his call to live our values, to protect the poor and the needy, and to promote peace."

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