General  History

In 1965, Pope Paul VI was the first Roman Pontiff to visit the United States. The trip was short and sweet; over the course of one Autumn day in New York, Pope Paul VI met President Lyndon Johnson, addressed the United Nations, and celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium. He expressed great enthusiasm at being the first Pope to step foot in the United States, and he emphasized our need to foster a love of peace:

“How rich in meaning, how abundant in good things,
is this divine and human greeting of Peace!” -Pope Paul VI

The second papal visit to the United States was made by Pope John Paul II in 1979. He was the privileged guest of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Des Moines, and Washington during his week-long visit. Pope John Paul II showed great love for the people of the United States upon his arrival:

“Although it is not possible for me to enter into every home, to greet personally every man and woman, to caress every child in whose eyes is reflected the innocence of love—still, I feel close to all of you, and you are all in my prayers.” -Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II traveled to the United States on several other occasions, including the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver. His final visit was to St. Louis in 1999, where he conveyed his utmost gratitude to Americans on what was for him a moving experience.

Most recently was Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington and New York in 2008 titled, “Christ Our Hope.” On April 16th, his 81st birthday, Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed to the White House. From there he went to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception via popemobile. After three days in Washington, Pope Benedict XVI traveled to New York where he addressed the United Nations, visited youth at Saint Joseph Seminary, and prayed at Ground Zero. He promoted hope, faith, and unity, and he concluded his visit with Mass at Yankee Stadium.

“It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion
of the Catholic community here.” -Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Francis will be making his first visit to the United States in September. He will arrive in Washington, and then he will visit New York before attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.