WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has arrived in the United States after landing at Joint Base Andrews Tuesday afternoon for the beginning of a three-day visit in Washington D.C.
The pontiff departed Cuba slightly earlier than expected Tuesday afternoon after spending the last four days in the Caribbean island nation. He touched down at the Air Force base in Maryland at 3:49 p.m.
The Armed Forces Full Honor Cordon from the Military District of Washington rolled out the red carpet for his arrival.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, his wife, Jill, along with their families greeted and shook hands with Pope Francis after he stepped down from his chartered plane.
On the tarmac, the smiling pope walked with President Obama and the first lady into the airport terminal while being welcomed and cheered by schoolchildren, politicians and Roman Catholic clerics.
A few minutes later, he emerged from the terminal and got into the backseat of a small and modest black Fiat as part of a motorcade leaving Joint Base Andrews. He rolled down his window despite the tight security surrounding him for his visit.
The 78-year-old pontiff arrived at the Vatican Embassy just before 5 p.m. where he will spend the rest of the night.
The nation’s capital is the first leg of the three-city trip in the United States for the pontiff. He is the fourth pope to ever visit the U.S.
Pope Francis is scheduled to officially meet with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday. He will also hold mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and address Congress during his D.C. visit.
Francis will then depart for New York on Thursday afternoon where he is scheduled to speak at the United Nations. He will end his U.S. trip in Philadelphia where he will attend a Vatican conference on families over the weekend.
Pope Francis’ Itinerary
Tuesday, September 22
4:00 p.m. - Arrival in Washington, D.C
Pope Francis arrives at Joint Base Andrews and is greeted by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Wednesday, September 23
9:15 a.m. - White House Welcoming Ceremony
White House South Lawn arrival ceremony where he will officially meet President Obama
11:00 a.m. - Papal Parade in Washington D.C.
Free and open to the public on a first-come first-serve basis. Spectators will need to pass through security
11:31 a.m. - Midday Prayer With U.S. Bishops at St. Matthew’s Cathedral
Pope Francis will pray the midday prayer with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in D.C.
4:15 p.m. - Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Thursday, September 24
9:20 a.m. - Address to Joint Meeting of Congress
Pope Francis will give a speech to the Joint-Meeting of Congress (both the Senate and House of Representatives).
11:01 a.m. - Appearance at West Front of the Capitol
A brief public appearance on the West Front of the Capitol depending on his schedule after his speech to Congress.
11:15 a.m. - Visit to St. Patrick’s Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
A blessing and remarks to the clients and homeless gathered at lunchtime for the St. Maria Meals Program of the Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington.
4:00 p.m. - Departure For New York City
Following his visit to St. Patrick’s church, Pope Francis will depart at 4 p.m. from the Joint Base Andrews for New York City.
More Pope Francis coverage from FOX 5: http://www.fox5dc.com/pope-francis-in-dc
Pope Francis' Visit to DC: Complete list of road closures, security screenings and advisories
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