Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI was the very first pope to visit the United States. When he arrived in New York in October of 1965, his visit was brief. In less than 24 hours, Pope Paul VI visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, met with President Lyndon Johnson, addressed the United Nations, attended Mass at Yankee Stadium, and visited the Vatican Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair. After a whirlwind of activities, he was on his way back to Rome. Although his visit was brief, it set the stage for future pontiffs to make additional visits to the U.S.
Pope Saint John Paul II
The second pope to visit the United States was Pope Saint John Paul II. His first visit to the U.S. was in 1979, where he visited many different cities, including New York. Like his predecessor, he visited and addressed the United Nations. When he returned to New York in 1995, he addressed them again, saying that he came as a witness to human dignity. During this same visit, he also met with President Clinton in New Jersey.
Pope Benedict XVI
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI became the third pope to visit the United States and his visit was titled “Apostolic Visit to the United States of America and to the Seat of the United Nations.” Part of his visit included a stop in New York where, like his predecessors, he addressed the United Nations. He also celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, visited Ground Zero, and said Mass in Yankee Stadium for 60,000 people. When Pope Francis comes in 2015, it is expected that he will also visit Ground Zero. Since Pope Benedict’s visit, the official memorial has been established, and the museum has been finished, so there will be several new places for Pope Francis to see.