Pope Francis’ USA arrival is encouraging local families to take the trip to see him up close.
The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on its website that Francis will use six Fiat 500Ls in the cities he will visit – Washington, New York and Philadelphia – and a white open Jeep designed to allow crowds to see him.
On Tuesday, in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra mountains where President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel commanded a guerrilla army that swept through Cuba and seized power more than five decades ago, the pope wrapped up a four-day visit by urging Cubans to pursue a “revolution of tenderness”.
The Catholic Church in the United States has been struggling in recent years, losing many members in part because of self-inflicted injuries like the clergy sex-abuse scandal.
On its website, Verizon Wireless states that the company has “invested $1.6 billion since 2014 in the regions where Pope Francis will visit, building new cell sites, boosting capacity on existing sites and activating small cells”.
“Maybe I have given an impression of being a little bit to the left”. “I’m still in such shock over everything”, said Aaron Ledesma, who writes a blog called The Gay Catholic and who wrote to the White House office of correspondence and received an invitation.
Huge crowds are expected to greet Francis, whose frequent shows of charity to the needy and spartan Jesuit lifestyle have helped reinvograte the image of the church after an era of abuse scandals thinned congregations.
Afterward, Pope Francis will ride a Popemobile along the streets of Washington near the Ellipse just south of the White House. He is the fourth pope to visit the United States.
The Pope will likely touch on social issues like economic inequalities and climate change.
The question is: How deeply will he delve into domestic US politics? Almost all were appointed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
The Argentine-born pope also has a unique opportunity to reach Latinos, the fastest-growing group of Catholics in America, who are giving churches their vitality. He also plans to celebrate a Sunday afternoon Mass at the meeting.
The event could attract up to a million and a half people.
Later, the pope will hold Mass in Spanish with roughly 25,000 ticket holders outside the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. On Wednesday, Francis meets with President Barack Obama; on Thursday, he addresses a joint meeting of Congress; on Friday, he addresses the United Nations .
For all the focus on Francis’ speeches, his less scripted moments in meeting with immigrants, prisoners and the homeless could prove more memorable.