Media Interest Is High for Pope Francis’s U.S. Visit

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Media Interest Is High for Pope Francis’s U.S. Visit

Cardinal Wuerl Press Conference

Cardinal Donald Wuerl reveals details of Pope Francis’s visit to Washington, D.C.

On June 30, dozens of reporters, producers, and cameramen packed St. Anthony Chapel in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington, D.C., to hear Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and University chancellor, officially announce the Washington schedule for Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States in September.

Although the visit is almost three full months away, the media is already buzzing about the significance of the trip. Reporters from national and local news outlets peppered Cardinal Wuerl with a variety of questions, such as:

  • How will the public be able to obtain tickets to the Sept. 23 Mass on the East Portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception? During the Mass, Pope Francis will canonize American missionary Blessed Junípero Serra. The congregation attending the Mass will assemble in the area surrounding the steps of the Basilica, including the 3.6-acre University Mall.
    Answer: A final decision hasn’t been made yet but those interested in learning more should stay tuned to for information.
  • Will Pope Francis bring the popemobile?
    Answer: Yes, but it’s still unknown when or where he will ride in the popemobile.
  • What will be the focus of Pope Francis’s address to Congress on Sept. 24?
    Answer: Cardinal Wuerl is unsure, but when the Holy Father speaks to Congress, he will be doing so from a spiritual standpoint, not a political one.
Frank Persico with media

Frank Persico speaks with NBC 4 about preparations for Pope Francis’s visit to CUA.

Representatives from the Archdiocese of Washington, Basilica, and Catholic University posted live updates to social media accounts during the press conference, which was broadcast live through the Periscope app. The organizations are promoting the hashtag #PopeinDC for all news related to the D.C. leg of Pope Francis’s visit.

After the official press conference, members of the media were invited to interview representatives of the Catholic entities that will host Pope Francis in Washington. Frank Persico, vice president for University relations and chief of staff, spoke with NBC 4, WNEW Radio, the Associated Press, and others about the University’s preparations for the visit. Persico has witnessed the two other papal visits to CUA: Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

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20080417_stack_pope_027Cardinal Donald Wuerl